US administration caused trouble not only to Snowden, but other governments too

Afshin Rattansi
Afshin Rattansi is a journalist, author of “The Dream of the Decade – the London Novels” and an RT Contributor. Afshin Rattansi began his journalism career on The (London) Guardian in the late 1980s as one of the newspaper’s youngest ever columnists. He went on to work for Britain’s Channel 4, BBC, Al Jazeera Arabic, CNN International and Bloomberg Television and many other media. In the run-up to the Lehman Brothers crash of 2008, he published a collection of four of his novels as “The Dream of the Decade – The London Novels.” As US pressure increased on Iran, Afshin moved to Tehran to anchor the news on the new satellite TV channel, Press TV which was later banned in Britain. He set up Alternate Reality Productions in London in 2010 making Double Standards, a comedy satire show as well as other TV news commissions. His writing has also appeared in the New Statesman; Counterpunch; The Oldie; Plays and Players; Mitchell Beazley’s Encyclopaedia of 21st Century; The Journal of the British Astronomical Association; Association of Lloyd's Members Journal; Critical Quarterly; Makers of Modern Culture (Routledge, 2007); “Brought To Book” (Penguin, 1994); Flaunt; Attitude. He is a founder member of the Frontline Club in London and he won the Sony Award for outstanding contribution to international media in 2002.
US administration caused trouble not only to Snowden, but other governments too
It was ‘childish’ of the Obama administration to revoke Edward Snowden’s passport, as it caused trouble to many governments, while he can just do his business as a normal citizen, RT contributor Afshin Rattansi told RT.

RT:Now that's Snowden's likely to stay in Russia for some time - how will it affect Moscow's relations with Washington?

Afshin Rattansi: There have already been some speculation about the upcoming G20 summit, but of course Vladimir Putin was very careful to say, “well, if he doesn’t offend the Americans by his leaks” as regards Mr. Snowden. I’ve got to say given the polling done in the US, the American people think that Snowden has done the Americans a favor, not how President Obama sees it at all. So whether it will come up in discussions I’m not sure. The way President Obama goes about extraordinary rendition, joint strikes and so on – it’s not really done on the diplomatic level, it’s all done through subterfuge and arguably illegality rather than at the summit table in Moscow or in Saint Petersburg rather than where the G20 is planning.

RT:Snowden said he wants safe passage to Latin America... Is it possible for him to stay in Russia permanently?

 AR: I think that’s up to Edward Snowden in all of this. It was the reaction of John Kerry's State Department along with the Department of Justice in the United States to revoke a US citizen’s passport. I mean it’s childish, frankly. Snowden is this whistleblower, we see as this great whistleblower showing the American people are living in a surveillance state – and his passport is immediately taken. It is up to Edward Snowden and as we’ve heard the recent reports coming out that he’s applying for temporary asylum, presumably he can just go about his business as a normal citizen, walk into the Venezuelan Embassy in Moscow, walk into the Ecuadorian Embassy and fill out forms and papers. The Obama administration was so quick to just say: “Right, we’ll make him a non-citizen and cause him trouble in this way”. Well they didn’t just cause Edward Snowden trouble, they’ve caused Moscow trouble, they’ve caused all sorts of governments trouble, notably the Bolivian one, of course, the hijacking drama took place few weeks ago.

RT:Why haven't any of the EU countries who found out they were targets of NSA snooping offered Snowden asylum?

AR: It continues to be the case that EU capitals, well, some of them I have to say, are  finally saying Washington put pressure on them to bring down in effect a jet carrying a head of state. Nothing from London. But of course Julian Assange, Wikileaks is giving help to Snowden, his language we hear in the Ecuadorian embassy, the government makes no statements. And what’s more worrying is the propaganda will start to filter to European newspapers and journals – as it is in America, about somehow this man, Keith Alexander, the head of the National Security Agency –  what a heroic figure he is as regards the NATO operations in Afghanistan and Iraq which is the real basis of Snowden’s allegations of how they say NSA spying helps save lives and doesn’t actually destroy them.

RT:Don’t you feel the questions over Snowden's status are distracting the public from his revelations?

AR: Precisely, and that’s why it was interesting that Washington both did start talking about how the NSA are doing their own propaganda efforts leaking selectively to “their favorite” members of the press. Not Matthew Lee, courageous AP man who always grills the State Department at their press conferences. In effect what the NSA managed to do is to stop IEDs or roadside bombs in Iraq and perhaps in Afghanistan. We know that in a case of Iraq it was American tax payer money, bribing these Salafis groups that despise America. That’s how they calmed down the Sunni triangle in Iraq, and it’s of course flaring up again. It’s gonna make a lot allegations in the press and you will see what’s arriving in the newspapers that the NSA is a “beacon of freedom” and without their ability to survail your Skype account or your Outlook.com, it’s revelations about Microsoft that say forces stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan would have sustained far more casualties. It’s rubbish. We know that the American government and the cooperate “surveillance state” is desperately seeking around to prove that they need to be able to be through all of our  e-mails, all of our phone calls for our own security and Edward Snowden is naïve at best or perhaps some kind of foreign agent working for who knows whom.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.