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    Russia - USA Relations

    GarryB
    GarryB

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    Post  GarryB Fri Jun 28, 2013 10:20 am

    Molesting young boys is sadly very common, and when discovered should it be ignored or dealt with properly?

    Or should governments be above the law?

    Sorry, but if Snowden was releasing info about a Chinese electronic network of spy systems he would be held up as a hero in the west and most certainly have been given all sorts of honours like medals, a pay raise and perhaps promotion... likely even some sort of peace prize.

    He broke rules to reveal a much more serious breaking of rules and it seems the guilty party is going to try its best to get revenge and sweep everything back under the carpet.

    It makes US criticism of the terrible abuses of other states towards their citizens seem hollow and empty, but all they seem to be worried about at the moment is closing the leak rather than seriously asking itself about its real values... not the crap that it spouts through every movie and TV show, but its real values.

    I am sure in a movie a real US hero would say if we have to cheat and lie to stay perfectly safe then it is not worth it... indeed those that argue such things are necessary to remain "safe" have a different understanding of the word safe than the rest of us anyway it seems.

    The irony is that the US would be a much better country if it actually stood behind its high morals, but it doesn't... it is not Superman as it likes to see itself, it is more like the arch villains that Superman fights... sad pathetic beings whose focus is taking over the world and controlling it.

    Perhaps the best leadership role the US could adopt would be leading by example, but it has clearly lost its way.

    A lot of people who have disagreed with me over the years (and there have been quite a few) actually think I am anti American... the fact is that the fundamental ideals of the US are actually very good... they pinched them from all sorts of cultures and civilisations through the years but basically they hold up. The problem is the selfish double standard in implimenting these morals based on US interests. For instance spreading democracy does not apply to Saudi Arabia because the people there are generally anti west and it is not in Americas interests to have a hostile Saudi Arabia. The monarchy that rules there isn't thousands of years old as you might think... they were created by the British and French in the 1920s when Arabia became countries based on known oil deposits... the British and French took over the former colonies of the losing states of WWI like Germany. Equally in Kosovo the Albanians deserve independence from Serbia because the US does not like Serbia, yet Serbians living in Kosovo don't get the option of an independent state separate from Kosovo and neither do Bosnian Serbs. South Ossetians and Abkhazians must live under Georgian rule according to US foreign policy... amusingly that would suit Stalin personally as he was a Georgian but his mother was South Ossetian and he wanted the two countries joined so he could be all Georgian. In my Opinion if you are going to join two states in the region it would be North Ossetia and South Ossetia, which would mean SO joining the Russian Federation and not Georgia.

    US foreign policy never makes sense on the face of it using their morals and values... it is only when you cross reference their financial interests that you come up with some sense... it is not their morals or sense of fairness or justice that drives them... it is generally money and revenge.

    ...not looking so high and mighty anymore. Sad Huge disappointment really.
    SOC
    SOC

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    Post  SOC Fri Jun 28, 2013 10:09 pm

    GarryB wrote:The information I managed to get hold of mentioned that the NSA passed on to Boeing intercepted information from officials of a foreign country that were deciding on the choice between Boeing and Airbus for a major contract... the intercepts revealing several of the officials had an interest in female French companionship and as part of the deal Airbus was happy to oblige.

    Now that doesn't effect profits... but having such information gives you several choices including offering a better quality of the product in demand... and I don't mean aircraft, or simply outing the officials and hoping you will win fair and square, or obviously talking to said official and threatening to tell their spouse about their arrangements with Airbus... and probably several other options I have not even considered.

    Another use was to determine the final offer of a competitor so that you can make your offer more appealing without offering more than you need to get the contract.

    All good points. My thoughts are a bit skewed. If it's fine under US law, but not under international law, what takes precedent? I'd lean towards the former but an argument for the latter is basically just as valid.

    GarryB wrote:(BTW I got an A+ for the paper and my lecturer asked to keep it as an example to other students for the future. My Lecturer was in the CIA for several decades and was disappearing to the US to places like West Point to give lectures to the US military)

    Well hell, now I wanna read it study 

    GarryB wrote:if Snowden was releasing info about a Chinese electronic network of spy systems he would be held up as a hero in the west

    Not by this guy.

    GarryB wrote:It makes US criticism of the terrible abuses of other states towards their citizens seem hollow and empty

    Not quite the same thing, given that, according to the available info, this isn't being used to spy on US citizens (bridge for sale, $1000). In that case the US isn't abusing its own citizens, is it?

    GarryB wrote:US foreign policy never makes sense

    ...is all you really needed to say there!

    Austin wrote:Industrial Intelligence and Espionage very common , considering the rivalry that Boeing and Airbus has I wont be surprised that NSA would try to get as much information and secrets from Airbus and pass it on to Boeing.

    Reminds me of the KGB sending agents to France to take rubber scrapings from runways to figure out how to make whatever Concorde's tires were made of.
    GarryB
    GarryB

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    Post  GarryB Sat Jun 29, 2013 12:15 pm

    All good points. My thoughts are a bit skewed. If it's fine under US law, but not under international law, what takes precedent? I'd lean towards the former but an argument for the latter is basically just as valid.

    Echelon didn't cover the US because it would have violated US law.

    Not quite the same thing, given that, according to the available info, this isn't being used to spy on US citizens (bridge for sale, $1000). In that case the US isn't abusing its own citizens, is it?

    Echelon didn't cover the US but it does cover US citizens in other countries and does not distinguish/check citizenship.

    The new systems do cover the US.

    The US does not have the right to abuse anyones citizens... self appointed world policeman or not. Razz 

    ...is all you really needed to say there!

    It makes perfect sense only if you follow US interests rather than US morals and standards...

    Reminds me of the KGB sending agents to France to take rubber scrapings from runways to figure out how to make whatever Concorde's tires were made of.

    Before the British Labour government sold state of the art Derwent and Nene Rolls Royce engines to the Soviets and production rights they showed the Russians around the factories that made them. Special soft sole shoes allowed the Russian delegates collect samples of metal shavings so the metals could be analysed so they knew the metal alloys they needed before the British told them and had material on hand ready for production much faster.

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    Austin

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    Post  Austin Mon Jul 01, 2013 11:03 am

    In wake of Snowden scandal , How safe are Russian systems , I mean these guys have penetrated every thing possible and since Internet is USA how can one keep it same from prying eyes of NSA.

    What if NSA hacks into says SRF control or into defence establishment and how do we know they havent yet.

    Today I read Ecquodor President stating his personal email is already hacked and they have Assang email published.

    How about similar penetration of says email account of Putin or other top heads.

    So bottom line is how safe are Russian Network from NSA attacks.
    AlfaT8
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    Post  AlfaT8 Mon Jul 01, 2013 1:35 pm

    Austin wrote:In wake of Snowden scandal , How safe are Russian systems , I mean these guys have penetrated every thing possible and since Internet is USA how can one keep it same from prying eyes of NSA.

    What if NSA hacks into says SRF control or into defense establishment and how do we know they haven't yet.

    Today I read Ecuador President stating his personal email is already hacked and they have Assang email published.

    How about similar penetration of says email account of Putin or other top heads.

    So bottom line is how safe are Russian Network from NSA attacks.
    Very good question, sadly i haven't heard much from Russia on this issue no one really asked, i was hoping that RT would ask this question, but still nothing.Sad 

    One thing is for sure, we can pretty much assume that all major U.S based software, be they security, operating systems, business, ect software has been compromised  along with major hardware brands, if anything this has made the development of Russian computer hardware and software even more important for Russia's national security.russia 
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    Austin

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    Post  Austin Mon Jul 01, 2013 1:43 pm

    In a digital ERA you are just a click away from loosing classified information as Snowden has showed.

    All the big companies like CISCO , Microsoft , IBM , HP and many others are US companies and they comply by US laws read it as what NSA tells them to do.

    So the information war is highly lopsided in favour of US , Not to mention many of the backbone and internet itself is based out of US.

    The least Russians can do is to isolate all critical networks from Internet and possible use customised OS like Linux and Routers/Switches made in Russia.

    And ofcourse have some spies in NSA to figure out how extensive their penetration is in Russian Digital Network Wink
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    Austin

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    Post  Austin Mon Jul 01, 2013 6:17 pm

    My Take on Snowden Episode

    The Country that had last laugh: No prices for Guessing China , There were many reports over years and before Chinas new President visit to US this year that China was indulging in cyber attack and Pentagon was warning about it , Obama mentioned that he told the Chinese President in clear words that such cyber attack were not acceptable.

    Now Snowden disclosure would make China laugh of their ass . If nothing else it was the case of Pot Calling Kettle Black

    Unexpected Gain: Russia , Russian Intelligence would have died to have a resource like Snowden inside NSA perhaps they have none inside NSA .....so this is a great unexpected intelligence bonanza ....though the Russian are under stating it but there is no doubt Snowden would have something to offer to Russia.

    Not to mention the years of Defection that US promoted , this would be the first US Citizen who may end up getting asylum in Russia

    Unexpected Loss : Europe - US relation would now always be viewed with suspicious .....the present Snowden issue will fall over but European will always be suspicious of Uncle SAM is watching over its shoulder.

    I am sure European Intelligence would be thinking what is the Business Loss they would have accrued over many years of NSA spying and what did they loose in negotiation with US over NSA gaining an insight over negotiation position.

    Egg on Face : US ofcourse with all the wonderful capability they would have build over years spending billions of dollars , they lost trust of their closest allies , lost its initiative against China and their attack blunted , Lost Intelligence and trust of its own citizen and that of the world.

    TR1
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    Post  TR1 Tue Jul 02, 2013 1:39 am

    Austin wrote:In wake of Snowden scandal , How safe are Russian systems , I mean these guys have penetrated every thing possible and since Internet is USA how can one keep it same from prying eyes of NSA.

    What if NSA hacks into says SRF control or into defence establishment and how do we know they havent yet.

    Today I read Ecquodor President stating his personal email is already hacked and they have Assang email published.

    How about similar penetration of says email account of Putin or other top heads.

    So bottom line is how safe are Russian Network from NSA attacks.

    If Russian state uses even 10% of the world (in)famous Russian hackers, then I would say they are in a very good state Very Happy

    But seriously, you asked a very difficult question Austin!
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    Corrosion

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    Post  Corrosion Tue Jul 02, 2013 6:49 pm

    Austin wrote:In wake of Snowden scandal , How safe are Russian systems , I mean these guys have penetrated every thing possible and since Internet is USA how can one keep it same from prying eyes of NSA.

    What if NSA hacks into says SRF control or into defence establishment and how do we know they havent yet.

    Today I read Ecquodor President stating his personal email is already hacked and they have Assang email published.

    How about similar penetration of says email account of Putin or other top heads.

    So bottom line is how safe are Russian Network from NSA attacks.
    As far as E-Mail addresses and passwords are concerned they can be hackable but as far as I know Encriptions can be un-crackable if done properly. Even if computers can be hacked, manual encryptions are always there. Lets say I have encrypted a particular word as "╜ᾢḝϸﻜ☺️☼⅜‰" and only my good friend in another country knows what these symbols correspond to in some other language. It is not possible to Hack human brain through wires/cables. Cool  I will be highly surprised if top secret messages are not sent in some encrypted format. Of-course if some body gives your Encryption codes away physically, that's another matter.

    IMO the only loss US will have from this whole episode is that their own populace(along with populace in US allied countries) will have less trust in US administration and of-course the leaked US secrets. Many people in general are saying that there's nothing new here and everybody does this kind of stuff depending on their capabilities but average people didn't knew that before. They will know now. I think Snowden succeeded in what HE wanted to do, if what He is saying is indeed the truth.
    GarryB
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    Post  GarryB Wed Jul 03, 2013 2:37 am

    At the end of the day intel is only as good as how it is disseminated and interpreted.

    Some information will be critical, some will be disinformation, some will just be someones wrong opinion of something.

    At the end of the day being able to listen to everything the US says in private wont undermine their defence... it will undermine their credibility and could be used for pressure... for instance if they already think the leader of NK is crazy then you can use that to get concessions during talks etc.

    I rather suspect the Russians are well aware of the capabilities of the NSA and they will take precautions.

    Any sort of encryption takes time to decrypt, but the obvious would be hiding messages within messages.

    One example was used by Al Quada... get a gmail account and sign up and then write a draft message that is secret and then save it and log off. Your partner in crime will log on and open the saved draft files and read an email that has never been sent.

    Equally sending high volumes of messages... most of which are meaningless adds to the problems of listening.

    Hiding messages is fun... there are programs you can download off the internet that allow you to hide a message within an image file. The message is stored within the coding of the image data so it is not a plain message you could see... it is the colour information in the image stored in a particular way that can be interpreted as a message... and it can be encrypted too.

    Keep in mind that all this intel gathering technology didn't warn them about much... the invasion of Kuwaite was a surprise, 11/9 was a surprise... of course the Georgian invasion of Abkhazia was not a surprise but that was likely because milli vanili likely told them before hand.
    Regular
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    Post  Regular Wed Jul 03, 2013 10:27 am

    Well AFAIK Russia started using Linux distro for their army and other services years ago. Remember reading it on russian XAKEP magazine about their own OS systems too.

    I'm pretty much sure big emphasis is being made on critical information.
    By the way, Putin reall surprised me with his statement about Snowden. You can't get more pro-american than that
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    Austin

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    Post  Austin Wed Jul 03, 2013 10:44 am

    Russia has been relatively cool about the whole Snowden thing even before he reached Moscow.

    So I suspect Russia probably knows more about NSA and its activities much prior to Snowden leaking it and must have take some measures to reduce its spying on Russia and its people.
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    Post  Regular Wed Jul 03, 2013 11:18 am

    What can Russia do to reduce US spying on it's citizens? Block facebook? Even in vkontakte Russian soldiers are posting pictures with T-90 tanks, military bases, other sensitive information and nothing can be done about it.
    Well I guess now US is not so different from USSR after all when it comes to spying on own their people and allies. That's what You get when You have 1 super power in the world - greed and need of control, total dominance. And to be Americas friend means nothing now. Pretty much what my people know from 1944.
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    Austin

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    Post  Austin Wed Jul 03, 2013 12:58 pm

    In India the MOD has banned Armed Forces personal from posting personal details , squadron unit information and even personal photos of them on FB as some time back a lot of pictures of Air Force personal and other armed forces personal were seen on FB.

    See no reason why Russian MOD can come up with similar order to prevent known personal details etc.
    Viktor
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    Post  Viktor Sat Jul 06, 2013 12:29 pm

    Venezuela granted Snowden asylum and If you wonder how in the hell is he going to get there - dont. Rocket cruiser Moskva is scheduled on a trip to Venezuela soon Very Happy 

    Nicaragua also granted asylum to Snowden probably all of those states decided so irritated by the Morales jet searching.

    Also EU showed hypocrisy by not allowing asylum to Snowden after it was revealed that whole EU is spied by US.
    GarryB
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    Post  GarryB Sun Jul 07, 2013 11:46 am

    Also EU showed hypocrisy by not allowing asylum to Snowden after it was revealed that whole EU is spied by US.

    Yeah... you are told about a friend cheating on you and your reaction is to help your supposed friend get his hands on the person who told you about their bad behaviour... classic western hipocracy.
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    Post  Regular Mon Jul 08, 2013 9:22 am

    GarryB wrote:
    Also EU showed hypocrisy by not allowing asylum to Snowden after it was revealed that whole EU is spied by US.

    Yeah... you are told about a friend cheating on you and your reaction is to help your supposed friend get his hands on the person who told you about their bad behaviour... classic western hipocracy.
    It's more to do with US pressure. America is cool about Europe, preaching about how we are allies and that we are democracies, but god forbid do something that is against Us interest and they will squeeze You by the balls. This all sad thing shows how deep US influence over Europe. And for me it's scary. It's like marriage when wife is being beaten by husband and she still says that she loves him.
    GarryB
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    Post  GarryB Mon Jul 08, 2013 10:40 am

    Or indeed a husband that sleeps with anything with two legs but the instant he finds his wife is having an affair he wants a divorce...

    Like I said... a hypocrite... one standard for the US and one for everyone else.
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    Post  Austin Sat Jul 20, 2013 6:57 am

    To start with a nice interview with Professor Stephen Cohen on the status of Russia-US Relations

    'Obama can't afford a fair trial for Snowden' - Stephen Cohen


    Last edited by Austin on Sat Jul 20, 2013 7:28 am; edited 1 time in total
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    Austin

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    Post  Austin Sat Jul 20, 2013 7:05 am

    Who’s Edward Snowden more of a problem for now, Russia or the US? Has he sent US-Russian relations into a tailspin or did he just reaffirm the sad state of affairs? Is the 'Russian Reset' dead?

    Today we discuss the fallout from the Snowden case with Stephen Cohen, Professor of Russian Studies and History at New York University and Princeton University.

    Sophie Shevardnadze: At this point, to whom is Snowden more of a problem – the US or Russia?

    Steven Cohen: From my perspective, he is a problem for both. If we put this in historical context since the end of the Soviet Union 22 years ago, we’ve lost several opportunities to create a meaning for cooperative relationships between Washington and Moscow. It appeared a few weeks ago that we had another opportunity. The opportunity began with a tragedy - the bombings in Boston. It was later clear that there was a need for a lot of cooperation in counter-terrorism between Moscow and Washington. And then, the Syrian civil war, whatever it is, ran out of control – it’s certainly the worst crisis in the Middle East for many years. It also appeared that Washington and Moscow were ready to do something about it. And then came Snowden. Not only Snowden, but he is clearly a setback -I would say both for President Putin and President Obama.

    Sophie Shevardnadze: But you say that Putin is handling the Snowden situation wisely…

    Steven Cohen: What makes us really interested is that President Putin is the man that likes to control the environment in which he makes international - and I suppose domestic - decisions. He couldn’t control this. Snowden came literally out of the blue and he hadn’t decided what to do. So he was caught and he remains caught between two strong countervailing factors: On the one hand, Putin pursues in a world which I would call not an ANTI-American foreign policy, but an UN-American foreign policy or a NON-American foreign policy. That is, a foreign policy rather different from the US in many areas. Therefore, he could not turn in Snowden - a highly symbolic figure - over to the US. On the other hand, it’s absolutely clear that Putin wants some kind of cooperative relationship with the US. I think he has probably done as good as he can do. As in, the solution is to allow Snowden to remain in Russia in some status of temporary asylum, while he sorts out how he’s going to go to a third country - Venezuela or some other place. That’s a legal issue. He needs travel documents, and he probably has to go to the embassy of that country in Moscow. But although it’s legal, it’s profoundly political. In a way, Russian-American relationships hinge on that at the moment. And as I said the other day to an American who asked me, this tests the leadership ability not only of Putin, but of Obama, to solve this problem.

    Sophie Shevardnadze: You’ve brought up an interesting point – saying that Putin likes to control the situation. Do you think he would have acted differently if he wasn’t confronted with the sheer fact of Snowden being in Russia?

    Steven Cohen: I mean, all leaders - real leaders, state leaders - try to control the environment in which they make decisions. Very often, they can’t. Wars come, acts of terrorism come, and leaders change in other countries with which they were doing business. What we don’t know about Snowden affair is whether or not the Chinese, when they allowed Snowden to fly to Moscow from Hong Kong, cleared it with the Russian end. Whether the Russians said, “Okay, send him along.” If that happened - and we don’t know, but I would guess it did because the Chinese-Russian relationship is very important and very close at the moment - I would assume that whoever in Moscow made that decision - it might not have been President Putin; he can’t make every decision before it becomes a crisis – they may have assumed that in fact Snowden was going to do as Snowden was going to do – spend maybe ten hours in the transit section of Sheremetyevo airport and then get on a plane to Havana, and onwards, as he thought, to Ecuador. And then, a problem rose with Ecuador and he is still in Moscow. So in that sense, we don’t know if Putin said “Ok, travel through Moscow,” not knowing he was going to become a kind of resident in Moscow. We just don’t know that.

    Sophie Shevardnadze: Another problem is that his passport was cancelled so he couldn’t really fly through Moscow even if he wanted to. But given the way things are right now, what does Russia risk if it grants Snowden official refugee status?

    Steven Cohen: As you know, there is a very strong anti-Kremlin, anti-Putin, anti-Russian lobby in Washington. Its citadel is the US Congress. That’s why we get preposterous legislation like the Magnitsky act. Congress is prepared to do anything to strike at Russia. Yesterday, for example, one of the senators proposed that the US boycott the Winter Olympics in Russia in 2014 – that won’t happen – but the mere fact that the US senator, who is supposed to be a person of wisdom and dignity, would propose such a preposterous thing shows you what kind of Congress we are dealing with. I predict - and I think any idiot could predict - that when, and I assume it’s “when” Snowden gets his temporary asylum in Moscow, the members of Congress, members of the various anti-Russian lobbies like Freedom House in the US, and many others will denounce the Kremlin and demand that Obama does something very bad to Russia. And then Obama will be tested – we will see if he can withstand that or not. That’s why I say by the way, that I think it’s is a kind of test - not only of the wisdom and the leadership of Putin - but the wisdom and the leadership of Obama. Let me remind you, Obama didn’t ask for this Snowden crisis. Putin didn’t ask for it. They just got it.

    Sophie Shevardnadze: The media right now is more focused on Snowden’s personal life - what he eats, what he wears, where he lives, where his girlfriend is – than his revelations and the leaks. Can we expect the attention to turn back to the NSA and PRISM, or is that issue now buried under the Snowden narrative?

    Steven Cohen: You raised what for me is the fundamental question: What should we, the Americans, be doing now? Ever since Snowden made these revelations, there’s been a big open, public debate about whether or not we approve of these massive, intrusive surveillance programs by American intelligence agencies. And of course, Europe and Russia and other countries who had been survellied have to make that decision too. But first and foremost, this is the question for Americans: Is it compatible with our concept of democracy? Of civil liberties? Of privacy? Or, on the other hand, do we need these kinds of abuses of civil liberties to protect ourselves against terrorism? There are two sides of this issue. It’s a complicated issue. Snowden wanted to trigger a debate and he has failed, because as you say, the drama of the personal saga of Edward Snowden – what’s going to happen to him, where he is going to go, where his girlfriend is, he looked so young – all these personal dramas [have taken the spotlight]. And I would guess that Snowden, who seems to be a very serious and purposeful man, is himself disappointed – because his purpose, as he says, and I believe him, in making these revelations is making a conversation in the US about these surveillance practices, which, because of his own drama, hasn’t happened yet – and it may never happen. And Sophie, let me add a matter that is absolutely never discussed in the US, but it’s profound: Obama says, the US government says, the Senators say, the Media says, “Showden should come home and stand trial.” Well, in some ways, if he could get a fair trial, if he could be out on bail - the way Daniel Elsberg was 30 years ago when he took the Pentagon papes - while he is preparing his trial, and he could tell a story, and he could build a legal team, and he could have an open-court case with all the rights the defendants have, that means that he could have all sorts of officials involved with this case, right up to the vice president and the president of the US. I cannot imagine that the Obama administration or any US administration would permit that, therefore I doubt very seriously that Obama is sincere when he says that Showden should come home and stand trial. But I would guess that if Snowden was given these guarantees - of being out of prison and on bail and free to have an open trial - he might come home. But he is not going to get those guarantees, I would guess, because we live in a different era, here in America too.

    Sophie Shevardnadze: I want to talk a little bit more about what has changed, whether the whole NSA leaks have changed the American society. Because if you talk about me and people around me, who have a post-Soviet hangover or had a Soviet childhood…these revelations weren’t life changing for us, because we suspected surveillance in some form or another. Many RT viewers are strongly against any form of surveillance, but still, I know a lot of Americans that are around and they are not saying “Hey, at this point – we’re done with the government.” For example, Larry King, he told me that he is actually siding with the government on surveillance. What do you see around you – are the people still shocked, or they are digesting and accepting it in the name of the War on Terror?

    Steven Cohen: I understand what you are saying about your Russian colleagues - surveillance is a problem in Russia too and it has been a problem for decades. And there is a debate in the Russian media whether the FSB - the Russian intelligence agency - is doing too much or too little. And let’s be fair, people in Russia and in the US are afraid of terrorism. If you asked me, would I allow the US government to listen to my phone calls and read my email if they are going to prevent my children from being killed in a terrorist explosion in New York City where I live, I would undoubtedly say,“Yes.” I’ll just be a little more careful in what I say on the phone and what I write in the email. But this is a major question, and times have changed. I’m old enough to remember the Osborne case, when he took the Pentagon papers which documented the Pentagon and White House line about the war in Vietnam, and then the New York Times published them. Then they were published very quickly as a book, and Elsberg was on the radio, and on television as it existed then. He was out on bail and famous lawyers came to defend him. And in the end, he was exonerated in a way. He won in the courts. That America doesn’t exist anymore - partly because of what happened in 9/11, and partly because we fought so many wars. Many Americans are afraid and we have become more accustomed, decade by decade, to this kind of surveillance. So the question that Snowden raised is, “Should we become accustomed to it? Is this really a trade-off between our fears and our privacy that we want to make?” But I agree with you, the polls have shown – I don’t remember the last number that the polls revealed - but about half of Americans or even more were okay with what the government was doing. But Sophie, you know as well as I do that when you take a public opinion poll, you can give the answer you want by the way you ask the question. If you say in general to Americans – are you prepared to give up all your freedoms that Americans have fought for, for 200 years, and allow the government to do this kind of possibly illegal surveillance, a majority would say “No.” But if you ask people, “Are you prepared to permit this surveillance so that you and your children are safe?,” the majority is going to say “Yes.” It’s just in how you ask the question and you can’t ask the question until you’ve had a national discussion - which we haven’t had and which the government doesn’t want – but what Snowden wanted. But again, until Snowden’s personal drama ends, or at least calms down and moves off the front page, we’re not going to have that discussion in our country. And even then, we may not have it because the government doesn’t want it.

    Sophie Shevardnadze: Welcome back to the show. We’re talking about Snowden and how his Moscow detour can affect the already shaken relationship between Russia and the US. Our guest is Steven Cohen, professor of Russian Studies and History. Good to have you back, Steven. So, in your latest opinion editorials, you keep saying that Russia and the US are at a hateful crossroads. Is Snowden’s case icing on the cake? Could things get really bad after this?

    Steven Cohen: I have a historical perspective. Let me state it again, 22 years after the end of the Soviet Union. We do not have a good relationship with Russia. Nobody asks why. Rather, in the US, when people are asked “Why,” they will say it’s the fault of Russia. Now they say it’s the fault of Putin. But that is not correct and certainly not a complete answer. We had several opportunities to establish partnership with Russia in international affairs. The first came in the 1990s after the end of the Soviet Union, and Clinton with Yeltsin war-set opportunities. The second opportunity came after 9/11, when Putin called President George Bush and said “We are with you, what can we do to help the US which has been attacked by terrorism? We’re partners.” That opportunity was lost. Then came Obama’s so-called “Reset” with then President Medvedev, and that opportunity was lost. Now, the tragic bombings in Boston and the tragic civil war in Syria have shown Washington and Moscow that we need a cooperative relationship and that created yet another opportunity. It’s not clear whether we will seize the opportunity with Snowden... the Magnitsky act and other events…have become obstacles on both sides to seizing these opportunities. The larger reason in my opinion - which is a minority opinion in America - is that my generation knew as the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the US either didn’t actually end with the Soviet Union, or it’s come alive again. Because everything we’ve seen between Russia and America since the end of the Soviet Union looks, smells, and behaves like a Cold War relationship. It’s just that in the US, our leaders don’t want to accept this failure - that they lost an opportunity in post-Cold War Russia to create a new relationship, a partnership with Russia. And that’s where we are today. So it’s a long way to answer, but I think that historians will tell you in the future - and as a historian today, I would tell you - that we can’t understand Snowden. We can’t understand Magnitsky. We can’t understand these recent conflicts without putting them into historical context of a relationship between America and post-Soviet Russia during the last 22 years. This is a narrative that hasn’t stopped.

    Sophie Shevardnadze: You just demonstrated that obstacles or opportunities to get two countries closer or get them more apart arise all the time – and these talks of the Cold War have been around forever, or in the past 15 years. You seem to be pointing out that we are now at a hateful crossroads. How much worse are things are now than they were in the Bush Era? Because it seemed like they were at the lowest then.

    Steven Cohen: The low point of the relationship since the end of the Soviet Union was of course the war with Georgia in 2008. And the reason that that was a low point is that the US and Russia came close to hot war, not just Cold War. Georgia began the war, no doubt about that. Russia reacted by moving into South Ossetia. It began the fight with the Georgian army which was, in effect, an American proxy army. We created that army. We armed it. We trained it. There were American military advisors somewhere in the Georgia, traveling with the Georgian troops. There was a discussion at the White House, led by Dick Cheney, that the US should bomb the Russian army in South Ossetia.

    Sophie Shevardnadze: But no one stood up for the Georgian army there because no one really wants to wage a war with Russia. That’s another example of how America and Russia would never actually go to war…

    Steven Cohen: I don’t know about that, Sophie. Where is that written, that we would never go to war? We were extremely close in the Cuban Missile crisis, we were extremely close in Berlin on a number of occasions. There were probably occasions that we haven’t been told about, and in my judgment we were close in Georgia in 2008. No fault of Russia – but how many times can we avoid these dangerous possibilities? My point is, it’s the duty of leadership – American leadership and Russian leadership - to create a relationship where these dangers don’t appear. And we haven’t done that yet. And I will say as an American patriot, the primary fault – not the entire fault – but the primary fault is in Washington. Until American policy toward Russia changes, things will not get better. And American policy toward Russia hasn’t changed on one fundamental issue: Washington believes in what it calls “selective cooperation,” which means Russia should make concessions but Washington does not have to make concessions in return. Until that policy changes, nothing else will change. I am absolutely sure about that.

    Sophie Shevardnadze: Does that mean that they don’t want a better relationship with Russia? They simply don’t care enough to ameliorate their relationship with Russia? Things are good as they are?

    Steven Cohen: The American political policy media establishment wants a good relationship with Russia once it’s on America’s own terms. And it’s very clear what that means, because it has meant the same thing since the Soviet Union – Russia should be a junior and subservient partner to American interests. Whatever is in the American interest, Russia should help promote. So, if America decides to expand NATO to Russia’s borders, Russia should accept this as a very good idea to its own security. If America decides to build missile installations in Europe or on ships that threaten Russia’s nuclear security, Russia should understand that that’s really against North Korea or Iran, and it doesn’t affect Russia. If the US believes that the overthrow of Assad in Syria will bring peace to the Middle East, Russia should agree. The problem is, Russia doesn’t agree. Russia is a different civilization, but the bad precedent was set – I don’t like to criticize your leaders because it’s your problems -by Yeltsin, who agreed almost on everything. And so Washington got into a habit of getting what it wanted. But even ambassador McFaul has said on a several occasions during the “reset” which he claims he invented, “We’re going to negotiate with Moscow, and see what they can do to promote our national interests.” Fine – but that’s one hand clapping. A real negotiation, real diplomacy, is not that. It is that we go to Moscow and say “Here are our interests, will you help us?” And then Moscow says, “We might. Here are our interests. Will you help us?” And then they do something for each other. Washington doesn’t do anything. I would defy anybody who thinks I’m being unpatriotic –just tell me one major concession that Moscow has received from Washington since the end of the Soviet Union? Just one? And when I ask this question, at all just, leading places of the American establishment, I do get one answer: “We gave them financial loans in the 1990s.” Yeah, they were onerous loans which only Putin, because of high oil prices, could finally pay back. Although Washington forgave Poland’s communist-era debt, it never forgave any of Moscow’s debts. We have never given Russia anything. By the way, Putin says that over and over and over again, and Washington says, “Why is he so anti-American? “ He is not anti-American, he just made a very simple point that any major leader would make – that a relationship is a two-way relationship: We give something to you, you give something to us, and we go forward and solve problems. We don’t have that relationship and we haven’t had it since the Soviet Union ended. We had it with the Soviet Union, but that’s another story.

    Sophie Shevardnadze: The “Reset” idea – is it all forgotten and dead now?


    Steven Cohen: In America, it’s something that Obama’s enemies use to show how unwise he is and say it failed. The reality is that Obama got what he wanted from the “Reset” – he got Russian help in supplying NATO forces in Afghanistan. He got tougher sanctions against Iran. He got Moscow’s cancellation of the C-300 defense system, I think. The problem is, once again…what did Moscow get in return? Nothing. They wanted a compromise on missile defense. They wanted the end of NATO expansion and an end to American democracy promotion in Russia. But Washington refused. So the “Reset” failed, Washington got what it wanted, and now we are starting all over again…The new détente – we used to call it “détente” during the Cold War – is going to fail unless American policy changes. It’s a sad story, but it’s a true story.
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    Post  Austin Fri Jul 26, 2013 8:13 am

    here comes sanction threat on Russia

    Senate threatens to sanction countries that aid Snowden

    The Senate Appropriations Committee said Thursday that they want the Department of State to consider imposing sanctions on any nation willing to assist NSA leaker Edward Snowden.

    A hearing held by the 30 member, bi-partisan Senate committee Thursday afternoon in Washington ended with a unanimous decision by way of voice vote to move towards sanctioning countries coming to the aid of the former intelligence analyst.

    The bill’s author, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), told the committee, “I don’t know if he’s going to stay in Russia forever. I don’t know where he’s going to go . . . But I know this: That the right thing to do is to send him back home so he can face charges for the crimes he’s allegedly committed.”

    Sen. Graham previously demanded Russia remove Snowden from the country and suggested the US boycott the Sochi Olympics if Pres. Vladimir Putin agrees to keep Snowden safe from the reach of American authorities. Last month Graham called the ordeal “an important test of the ‘reset’ in relations between our two countries,” and said, “If our two nations are to have a constructive relationship moving forward, Russian cooperation in this matter is essential.”

    "On multiple fronts, Russia is becoming one of the bad actors in the world," Graham said previously. "Russia continues to provide cover to the Iranian nuclear program and sell sophisticated weapons to the Assad regime in Syria to butcher tens of thousands of its own citizens. For Russia to grant temporary asylum to Mr. Snowden on top of all this would do serious damage to our relationship. It is past time we send a strong message to President Putin about Russia's actions and this resolution will help accomplish that goal."

    Speaking to the Senate committee on Thursday, Graham added, “When it comes to Russia, it's just not about Snowden.”

    “They are allying with Iran, 100,000 Syrians have been killed, they are providing weapons to Assad that are getting in the hands of Hezbollah. And really enough's enough,” the senator said of Russia.
    TR1
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    Post  TR1 Fri Jul 26, 2013 8:37 am

    Lindsey Graham is an idiot.


    We knew this for a while though.
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    Post  GarryB Fri Jul 26, 2013 8:49 am

    If the US is going to try to punish Russia for actively acting against them... perhaps if they have to do the time they might as well do the crime.

    Russian money could be actively used to foment unrest in the US and Mexico and Canada and elsewhere the way US money has been used to undermine legitimate governments in Eastern europe, the former soviet republics and the Arab world that don't fit in with Americas plan of me! me! me!

    If Russia felt like it it could easily supply lots of countries and organisations with powerful anti aircraft weapons and anti armour weapons an indeed chemical and biological and indeed nuclear weapons... I am sure the IRA would love a nuke...

    The irony is that since the new leader of North Korea said some very very strange things we suddenly hear almost nothing from him any more in the western press. For years we were told the leader of NK was mad, but now that he really is there is nothing to report.

    Perhaps that is the solution... the west is so keen to paint everyone else as a dyed in the wool bad guy to perhaps stop any of their own actions reflecting badly on them... the US only killed 4 million Vietnamese... but the commies killed way more in our estimates of course... perhaps the solution is a real enemy that will actively do everything it can to destroy the west rather than just react to its aggressive moves the way the Soviets and now the Russians have...

    The thing about cornering a fierce and powerful creature is you really don't know whether it will attack or curl up into a little ball and surrender... well actually you do but that doesn't stop you from poking it with a stick.
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    Post  Austin Fri Jul 26, 2013 9:13 am

    IF US Applies Economic Sanction then the two way trade value in 2012 at $40 billion will be impacted

    http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/balance/c4621.html
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    Post  Austin Sun Jul 28, 2013 11:47 am

    Justice Ministry explains why Russia cannot "return" Snowden to U.S.
    http://www.interfax.com/newsinf.asp?pg=2&id=433281

    MOSCOW. July 27 (Interfax) - Russia cannot turn in former CIA employee Edward Snowden because the term 'forced return' does not exist in international law, the Justice Ministry said in a statement on Saturday.

    "As a rule, the term 'return' in Russian law and practice is applied to voluntary entry of individuals from abroad into the country whose citizens they are," the ministry said in reply to an inquiry from Interfax.

    This term is not used in international law in the context of forced repatriation of individuals to the country of their citizenship, it said.

    U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul said earlier the U.S. was not seeking Snowden's extradition but was asking for his return. "The U.S. is not asking for 'extradition', but simply the return of Mr. Snowden. We have sent many people back to Russia," McFaul said on Twitter on Wednesday.
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