Mr. Jacob Appelbaum, representative of the Navy-funded Tor Network, spoke on behalf of Edward Snowden during the 2013 Whistleblower Award ceremony on Aug 31st. The ceremony took place in Berlin, and was organized by the German chapter of the International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms (IALANA).
Laura Poitras, who put Snowden in contact with Appelbaum, was also in the crowd.
I’m left with a lot of questions.
Why is Appelbaum, an American with DoD ties and a tenuous link to Snowden, addressing this German-speaking crowd? Couldn’t IALANA find a German-speaking human rights activist to read Mr. Snowden’s message? At the very least, why didn’t Laura Poitras read Snowden’s message herself? Why this persistent promotion of Appelbaum, Laura?
Is the IALANA acceptance speech an attempt to manufacture a meaningful connection between Snowden and Appelbaum now that Putin has tied Snowden’s hands? (Don’t disparage Russia’s American buddies!) Why is Appelbaum’s weak link to Snowden always trotted out on a German stage?
Previously, the NSA’s damage control has been championed by hot-headed journalists and muddle-headed shills– with friends like these the NSA doesn’t need enemies. But thanks to Mr. Putin, times are changing. To this blogger, Appelbaum smells like part of a more professional containment operation.
And, I dare say, Appelbaum smells like that to Snowden too. Here is a transcript of the beginning of Appelbaum’s “2013 Whistleblower Award” acceptance speech (which he made on behalf of Edward).
When I spoke with Edward Snowden this evening, he wanted me to convey a message to you, which I will read, but he also wanted me to not talk too much about geopolitics, and not to talk too much about all of the things which everybody else has already said this evening.
And instead, he wanted me to talk about individuals, to talk about people. He wanted me to talk about hope for change. And this reminded me of something that one of the greatest American whistle blowers to ever live is famous for saying, that is Daniel Ellsberg, he said that “Courage is contagious.” And I see here in the audience a number of people who embody that, Laura [Poitras] being the clear winner of that so far.
It seems important to say that Edward Snowden is a person of high moral character, I can’t really imagine a person who would be better fitting for this award, not just this year, but almost any year. That isn’t to forget about Chelsea Manning, that isn’t to say other people haven’t done great service for humanity.
But when I spoke with him [Snowden] this evening, his first question wasn’t about how things would go but he asked me if I had slept. He asked me how I was feeling, and, uh, I told him that I was fine. And he said, “Are you sure?”
This is a person who really cares about other people, a person who while he as been attacked and relentlessly smeared by the propaganda machines, he is a person who has thrown himself onto the gears of that very machine. And he has done it for each and every one of us and I can’t actually believe that it is true in some sense, because it just seems so incredibly powerful, so passionate and so beautiful.
Snowden doesn’t seem to think that by talking to Appelbaum, he’s in danger of crossing Putin’s ‘red line’ about harming the USA. (I believe Putin’s red lines are for real.) Snowden also thinks that Appelbaum needs coaching about what to say, because Appelbaum might otherwise take Snowden’s message down an unhelpful track.
Perhaps most importantly, Snowden thinks Appelbaum may have an uneasy conscience. Are you sure you feel fine, Jacob? Really?
Of course, all of this makes Jacob Appelbaum laugh nervously. Wow, German-speaking crowd, says the Tor-Keeper, isn’t Snowden a great guy? He cares about how I feel. Moving swiftly on…
Jacob can join Mr. Putin, and the handful of die-hard NSA shills, in having difficulty wrapping his head around Ed Snowden’s motives. Appelbaum can keep repeating how he spoke– in person– to Mr. Snowden before the ceremony. He can keep throwing love to his sugar-mommy. He can keep preaching to Germans with his crystal-clear diction. (I don’t remember Jacob’s careful enunciation from previous speeches. Somebody been to Toastmasters?)
But what Appelbaum can’t do is pull his head out of the wilderness of mirrors, because he was born and bred there. And maybe that’s the best way to out a spy. They don’t understand loyalty to anything beyond their chain of command. What’s in it for Edward? they ask, rolling their eyes and shaking their heads. Strange guy! shout the Americans.
When Edward Snowden outed the NSA’s massive domestic spying capabilities, and its cooperation with other governments, he did a very important thing. He gave everybody the chance to correct government excesses that have been spiraling out of control for a very long time.
Since the start of Snowden’s revelations, intelligence agencies everywhere have tried to either benefit from Snowden’s actions, or contain the damage his actions caused. The best way to achieve EITHER goal is to plant an agent close to Snowden in order to spin his message. There are a lot of creepy guys and gals crowding around Snowden and that’s not Snowden’s fault. Appelbaum is one of the “gears” chewing up Ed; a price Ed knew he’d have to pay for exposing massive government corruption.
Will the next volley of attempts to assassinate Snowden’s character come from Poitras herself, or from Appelbaum? Come on kids, Putin’s got Ed’s hands held back. Somebody throw the punch.
Oh yeah, what are you gonna do with all that MacArthur money, Laura?