back to article European Parliament votes to grant Snowden protection from US

The European Parliament has voted to grant Edward Snowden protection from prosecution – a move the NSA super-leaker hailed as a "game changer." In an unexpected vote, MEPs narrowly approved a measure that calls on EU member states to "drop any criminal charges against Edward Snowden, grant him protection, and consequently …

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    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Don't worry

      He'll be whisked away to the USA, or rather Cuba in the shape of Gitmo by an unmarked Lear Jet before anyone can stop then. As such this parliament ruling is not worth the fine velum it may by chance be written on in the blood of Moles.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Don't worry

        Maybe not legally, but it is making a very big policy statement.

        This is a political move rather than a legal move, paving the way for future dealings with the US.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Don't worry

          >This is a political move rather than a legal move, paving the way for future dealings with the US.

          As a Yank I say about time. The only way this madness will stop is if the Euros grow a pair and punch the bully in the nose. The US has had about as liberal a leader (liberal haha only to us Americans) as we ever will for the last 7 years and a lot of good that has done. Even though I am in the US my personal interest is a lot more aligned with the Euros on this one than our supposed national interest which as always is mostly for the one percenters. The 1% give us two shitty choices and the difference is only the rhetoric so its going to take some outside help on this one.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Don't worry

        "He'll be whisked away to the USA, or rather Cuba in the shape of Gitmo by an unmarked Lear Jet before anyone can stop then. "

        Citation?

        <flies off into the sunset>

    2. bazza Silver badge

      "So the odds of him coming to the UK are pretty low then, I imagine..."

      Oh I dunno, apparently we've some quite comfortable embassies across London offering a range of accomodation standards for the blabbermouth-on-the-run types.

  2. elDog Silver badge

    Snowden is smart enough to let this work its way through the sausage-making process

    It will continue to be a feather in Putin's hunting cap that he allowed Ed to have "safe harbor" in the land of bears. I do expect the rest of the civilized world (excepting the 5-Eyes) to protect the rights of whistle-blowers and other people of true conscience.

    However, the agents of countries that may be upset at this do have means such as poisoned umbrellas and polonium to make anyone's life rather short and uncomfortable.

    Now, Julian - do you have your bag packed?

    1. Turtle

      @ elDog

      "However, the agents of countries that may be upset at this do have means such as poisoned umbrellas and polonium to make anyone's life rather short and uncomfortable."

      Rather bizarrely, the means that you mention - poisoned umbrellas and polonium - were used by the Soviet intelligence services, not the US.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @ elDog

        ... Officially.

        1. Turtle

          @AC Re: @ elDog

          "... Officially."

          Kinda like how you are not yet officially a pedophile?

      2. Naughtyhorse

        Re: @ elDog

        I thought the umbrella thing was the east germans

        1. Bumpy Cat

          Re: @ elDog

          The poisoned umbrella was the Bulgarians, working with the Soviets. The target was also a dissident in London.

  3. Warm Braw Silver badge

    >So the odds of him coming to the UK are pretty low then, I imagine...

    It probably depends on whether we can persuade Russia to take Assange in exchange...

    EDIT: sorry, previous poster mostly beat me to it!

  4. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

    Well, it's a start

    and I hope the MEPs who voted for this will follow through.

    1. Soap Distant

      Re: Well, it's a start

      "and I hope the MEPs who voted for this will follow through."

      Depends on the quality of the catering at the event I guess.

      SD

      1. h4rm0ny

        Re: Well, it's a start

        Actually I'm going to say today is a day to be nice to MEPs. At least the ones who voted in favour of granting protection. Good for them! I'm trying to find a list so I can see how mine voted.

  5. Number6

    Popcorn

    I can see hours of entertainment from this one as various personages get excitable and throw teddies from prams.

  6. Charles Manning

    Talk is cheap

    It is easy to say you'll grant him protection... But how do they stop him being grabbed off the streets?

    Anyway this puts Assange in an interesting position. If Assange was to have the same protection offered, he would then have no good reason to stop hiding from the Swedish law.

    1. P. Lee Silver badge

      Re: Talk is cheap

      >If Assange was to have the same protection offered, he would then have no good reason to stop hiding from the Swedish law.

      The same benefits... and the same drawbacks.

      The benefit is that the presenting (Swedish) legal issues could be dealt with under the appropriate jurisdiction. The drawback - the US has a history of just snatching people and making them disappear to places with no due process.

      Both Snowden and Assange would be taking a huge risk if they took advantage of even iron-clad legal protections.

      I wonder how long the US has contemplated the fact that its quest for the freedom to do as it wishes in the world is actually impeding justice, because no-one feels safe anymore?

      In metaphor, for showing evidence of Prince John's illegal taxation, the accountant who signed an NDA has a choice of being hanged or joining Robin in the Forrest. Sure he can go to the archery competition, but there are risks.

      1. Naughtyhorse

        Re: no-one feels safe anymore?

        Is kinda the whole point.

        Murica is owned by people who make things go bang.

        Expensive things that go bang.

        So expensive that only a whole bunch of shit-scared people would even consider paying the price.

        manufacture the fear, pass that appropriations bill.

    2. Thesheep

      Re: Talk is cheap

      Because kidnapping high visibility people off the street of an ally with whom you have an extradition treaty is going to cause a huge international crisis. Which means that (for example) you would put at risk, at least in the short term, all of those nice information sharing agreements you have. And all those trade deals. You can't really send him to Gitmo because he's clearly a US citizen charged with a crime in the US, so you'll have to take him into the official system.

      1. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

        Re: Talk is cheap

        Because kidnapping high visibility people off the street of an ally with whom you have an extradition treaty is going to cause a huge international crisis.

        I am pretty certain that the US (or in fact most nations) could make him disappear, or mysteriously suffer a tragic accident, without leaving enough evidence to cause such an international crisis. There may be strong suspicions, but no evidence.

      2. Naughtyhorse

        Re: can't really send him to Gitmo

        Can't and US Govt.

        Is that the same can't as in 'the us can't kill us citizens with drones'

        Or more like the can't in ' the us government can't spy on it's own people'

        I only ask as international law is so nuanced....

  7. Dadmin
    Megaphone

    Safe Harbour gone, and now this?!

    These are steps in the correct direction! I'd say just cut off the US from your Internet and be done with our nonsense. What the hell does our Internet provide that you can't provide on your own Internet, from your own country, under your own rules? Facebook? Instagrandpa? Tweeters? Youporn? The US is not the Internet anymore. It ceased to be the Internet in 1992, but no one was paying attention, so let me clarify that: you don't need to get in bed with spies to have a nice web page. Stick to your principles and also stop spying on your own citizens in the same manner, GCHQ. Thanks. Pricks.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Safe Harbour gone, and now this?!

      Reports of the death of "Safe[sic] Harbor[sic]" are, sadly, greatly exaggerated.

      It's not dead, it's resting! Remarkable agreement, Safe Harbor, idn'it, ay? Beautiful opacity! ...probably pining for the hollow mountains of Utah.

      Its total lack of movement is due to it bein' tired and shagged out following a prolonged slurp.

      1. Naughtyhorse

        Re: Resting?

        it's only still on it's perch cause you nailed it there....

        (not disagreeing, just couldn't resist)

        1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: Resting?

          it's only still on it's perch cause you nailed it there....

          There's some joke to be made here about fjords and what sort of harbors they make...

  8. x 7

    where is Assange now? has he left the embassy yet? or is he worried about someone waiting for him on a dark street, putlog in hand?

  9. Mephistro Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Good news, indeed!

    It will take some time, but this particular house of cards is beginning to shatter. We EU citizens should make clear to our politicians that we are finally aware of the issue, and that any move on their part to help the USA's snooping will cost said politicians many, many votes.

    I consider it shameful that no European govt. has offered yet political refugee status to Mr. Snowden, but that seems due to change soon.

    Thanks, Edward, and keep on fighting the good fight!

    1. Lars Silver badge

      Re: Good news, indeed!

      I have no problems understanding the for and against regarding Snowden, but we will always end up with the question if, we as humans, are allowed to expose our "lords" for wrong doing or not. In a perfect world our "lords" would be self-regulating themselves in the superb way our industry has done it too, he he. Then there is the question of humanity and decency regarding the law, especially regarding the US law.

      Absolutely mad sentences for the small guys and nothing for the real big crooks. This difference between the US and Europe has become just too big to accept, (where does the US fit in regarding death sentences Saudi Arabia, Iran, China). even if the the big crooks probably get away as easily. What has made you so damned scared about the world and your own population.

      Good for you MEPs, nice, but will you actually do something.

  10. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Meh

    EP votes on yet another non-binding resolution

    Everything carries on regardless...

  11. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
    Pint

    "The US has long-standing extradition treaties with all European countries."

    Moscow is to the left of the Ural mountains.

    1. x 7

      Re: "The US has long-standing extradition treaties with all European countries."

      ""The US has long-standing extradition treaties with all civilised European countries."

      get the facts right please

    2. Irony Deficient

      ”The US has long-standing extradition treaties with all European countries.”

      JeffyPoooh, presuming that Kieren used the phrase “all European countries” to mean “all EU member states”, given that the article is about a vote in the European Parliament, then it is precisely the longest-standing treaty which would be likeliest to be most advantageous to Snowden, since it would lack coverage of “modern crimes”. Among the EU member states, that would almost certainly be the extradition treaty with Croatia, which is one of the inheritors of the 1902 extradition treaty with the Kingdom of Serbia (via the post-WWI Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, then through Yugoslavia).

  12. Nolveys Silver badge
    Meh

    A glimmer of sanity in government...

    ...I'm scared.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A glimmer of sanity in government...

      Don't worry, it won't last.

      http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/10/28/nsa_spying_on_eu_subject_judicial_review/

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Big mistake

    The EU just burned a very important bridge as they will come to understand very soon.

    1. h4rm0ny
      Thumb Up

      Re: Big mistake

      Great. Marshmallows are on me! :)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Pint

      Re: Big mistake

      As a present, I'll give you the beer for your party, free of charge. I brewed it myself!

      (wink wink nudge nudge)

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Grikath Silver badge

      Re: Big mistake

      ah.. we have the first AC with teddybear-pram syndrome..

    4. Tony Paulazzo

      Re: Big mistake

      The EU just burned a very important bridge as they will come to understand very soon.

      To the US*? Good! Go fucking isolationist, the rest of the world would be entirely grateful.

      BTW: We have the oil and the decent food, you have genetically modified (probably cancer causing) crap (of which the 1% will take 95%), fructose, overly expensive pharmaceutical drugs and Hollywood - to which you're welcome to keep.

      @ Edward Snowden. If you can sneak into Holland they'd probably let you stay, and they're pretty cool.

      *If you didn't mean the US, then apologies for the rant.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        WTF?

        Re: Big mistake

        "...rant... ...rant... ...rant... ...rant... fructose ...rant... ...rant... ...rant... "

        WTF?

        Nothing wrong with fructose. That's a myth propagated by the sucrose industry. It's the (≈50%) glucose in "HF"CS* that fucks the gluttons' biochemistry up. Exactly the same ≈50/50% glucose/fructose composition as honey, sucrose, etc.. as it happens.. somewhat ironically.

        Otherwise, total agreement. Rant on...

        *It's "high fructose" in comparison with ordinary "corn syrup" which is overwhelmingly glucose.

        1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: Big mistake

          Nothing wrong with fructose. That's a myth propagated by the sucrose industry. It's the (≈50%) glucose in "HF"CS* that fucks the gluttons' biochemistry up.

          Most HFCS used in the US, at least, is HFCS-55, which is rated at 55% fructose. Some studies claim analysis shows levels up to 65% fructose are common in actual commercial samples.

          In any case, the evidence is mixed. It's true that serious methodological concerns have been raised about both the 2004 Bray et al study (which mostly showed a historical correlation between HFCS use and obesity, for which there just might be some other explanation), which kicked off the whole thing, and the 2013 Page et al study (which looked at signalling pathways in rodents but used unrealistic feeding patterns).

          However, we now have 2015 Ruff et al, which used a much more reasonable feeding schedule and showed a significantly (p = 0.012) elevated mortality rate for female mice on the high-fructose diet (compared to sucrose). No difference was seen for male mice, and presumably most Reg readers are not mice;1 but the claim (most famously endorsed by Klurfeld, Rippe, and their co-authors) that fructose and sucrose are metabolically indistinguishable is suspect. As is, even more so, your claim that it's all a conspiracy by Big Sucrose.

          As for "it's the ... glucose ... that fucks the gluttons' biochemistry up": that's not even supported by the papers published by the HFCS defenders. They claim that either high monosaccharide levels don't cause endocrine issues in the first place,2 or that any problems are due to both fructose and glucose, not fructose alone.

          My guess is that the problem is too much damn sugar, particularly in SSBs (sugar-sweetened beverages), combined with insufficient exercise, and a host of inherited and environmental factors. But this isn't my field. Personally, I rarely drink SSBs, but that's as much because I don't care for them as for any other reason.

          1Industry demographics suggest most aren't female, either, though more study is needed in this area.

          2"a number of research trials have demonstrated no short-term differences between HFCS and sucrose in any metabolic parameter or health related effect measured in human beings including blood glucose, insulin, leptin, ghrelin and appetite" (Klurfeld et al 2013).

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Big mistake

      "The EU just burned a very important bridge as they will come to understand very soon."

      Yes we just burned one that US regard for Human Rights was trying to hide behind. It was presumably a very small bridge.

      "I'll give you the beer for your party, free of charge"

      As we say, once you drink British beer, it then becomes American beer...

  14. Speltier

    Don't look behind the curtain...

    ... or you might find the FSB. Or DGSE. Or BND. Or... NSA just comes out on top at the moment, due to being overly well endowed with black budget cash. Perhaps a better description with regards to this is NSA and the 28 dwarfs.

    1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      Re: Don't look behind the curtain...

      NSA and the 28 dwarfs

      OK, that one I like :)

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    any European country that welcomed Snowden in would find itself under enormous pressure from the United States government to hand him over

    See, Assange? That is a REAL risk of extradition, accompanied by paperwork and all. Not the BS you have been spouting.

  16. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    "The EU just burned a very important bridge as they will come to understand very soon."

    *rolls eyes*.

    US likes to say they are the world's last superpower, but I just don't see it any more. I'm not seeing any important bridges being burned here.

    1. O RLY

      And "superpower" isn't synonymous with "benevolent". Standing up to a bully can look an awful lot like burning a bridge depending on what side one's on.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "The EU just burned a very important bridge as they will come to understand very soon."

      *rolls eyes*.

      US likes to say they are the world's last superpower, but I just don't see it any more. I'm not seeing any important bridges being burned here.

      Ah, but there are. You're just not looking in the right direction yet. It is going to reach well into 2016 before the dust will settle because there is a heck of a lot more coming. Worse, just when you think it gets quiet again the Chilcot report will come out, preceded by all the excuses the protagonists have been able to dream up due to the "Maxwellisation" process (IMHO those statements and the report should be released at the same time, not precede them).

      Interesting times indeed.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Just when you think it gets quiet again the Chilcot report will come out"

        Yawn, Bliar is irrelevant now, and no one believed him anyway. That will be a complete non event.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Special relationship

    I'm loving the increasing distance between us and 'Murica lately.

    Just need to kill TTIP now.

  18. Mark 85 Silver badge

    I looked at the two votes mentioned in the article.. there's a 50 voter difference. Were there 50 abstentions on the Snowden vote? It was definitely a squeaker in it's passage.

  19. Gordon 10 Silver badge

    is it only me

    Or is the European Parliament the most sane democracy on the planet? OK they are fairly toothless in the face of the both European Commission and the Council of Ministers, but it strikes me as being far more representative of the ordinary people of europe than anything else. When they plug away at an issue they seem to get some traction.

    I can't help but think that a EP + European Courts of Justice represent all that is good about this grand European experiment. Daily Fail hysteria about the ECHR not withstanding.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: is it only me

      is it only me

      Or is the European Parliament the most sane democracy on the planet?

      What bothers me is that, given the way they work, the world is in such a state that this is now actually true.

      Shakes head..

    2. SolidSquid

      Re: is it only me

      Eh, they're generally slow to act and can rely on the fact that none of their rulings are actually enforced to pass bills which would be politically difficult to do in most of the member states (like this one). They are generally pretty good though, and the ECJ and ECHR are generally pretty solid within their limited scope, with some fairly solid rulings being passed

  20. john devoy

    it won't help him

    The days are long gone since the USA obeys international laws and borders, first chance they get they'll snatch him.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I bet GCHQ will grab him and exchange him for unimited access to info on UK citizens. :-)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "exchange him for unimited access to info on UK citizens"

      They get that anyway. GCHQ are some way ahead of the Americans in rolling out the requirements for a modern rerun of 1984....

  22. x 7

    the yanks should just send someone to execute him.

    Nice dose of ricin or a drop of polonium. Or maybe try something new with a dribble of tetrodotoxin. Actually thats easier to get hold of so would be a better way to go

    It would end the arguments and point out to the commies that anything they can do, we can do better

    1. LucreLout Silver badge

      @x7

      the yanks should just send someone to execute him.

      You don't feel that would be ever so slightly extreme?

      1. x 7

        "You don't feel that would be ever so slightly extreme?"

        not really, the commies do it all the time. Anything they can do, we can do better. Or should be able to.....

        1. LucreLout Silver badge

          @X7

          not really, the commies do it all the time

          Really? Nobody, not a reporter, not a former agent, not a single TLA anywhere in the world has claimed that a single life was lost due to Snowdens actions. To some he is the hero of the tale, to others the villain; regardless, you're talking about killing someones son for what? Spying, treason, or whistleblowing, depending on what side of the Snowden debate you sit.

          You're entitled to your opinion, but to me an execution seems extreme. And I'm probably as close to neutral on Snowden as anyone is on El Reg.

          1. x 7

            " you're talking about killing someones son for what? Spying, treason, or whistleblowing, depending on what side of the Snowden debate you sit."

            yep,exactly

            why? well to use a quote out of context, "Pour encourger les autres"

            1. LucreLout Silver badge

              @x7

              yep,exactly

              I.... don't really know what to say to that, which I think rather concludes our debate. Thanks for clarifying your view.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Pour encourger les autres

              I presume you meant "pour encourager les autres", but I suspect you are only familiar with Google Translate rather than the French language (FYI, it is not really a quote-worthy bit of text).

              So you are stating that you want Snowden killed for encouraging others? Even if we casually skip over the killing part (you clearly spend to much time playing video games), which others has he actually encouraged?

              I apologise for asking for facts and so disturbing your ranting, but I thought it might be entertaining to see how you much deeper you can dig.

              1. x 7

                "pour encourager les autres"

                yep, thats what my mistype was meant to say. Sometimes even I hit the wrong keys.

                And what did I mean? To encourage others not to follow his practice. If they know whats coming, they won't be repeating what he did. Of course he could just return to the civilised world, accept his punishment and be locked up for a year or thirty

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "You don't feel that would be ever so slightly extreme?"

          not really, the commies do it all the time. Anything they can do, we can do better. Or should be able to.....

          You know, you should really have your dosage checked out. Whatever you're on, it isn't working.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "the yanks should just send someone to execute him."

        Maybe they can ask the Israelis to do it? They have lots of experience in assassinating people that say things they don't like.

    2. Naughtyhorse

      <cough>Syria<cough>

  23. Chairo
    Unhappy

    Sadly the US gouvernment will only learn one thing from this - they need to spread more FUD.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I await the day that Mr. Snowdon leaves Mother Russia and ask why Mr. Putin violates the rights of his own people (and of other countries); but then he can do that right now.

    1. Tony Paulazzo

      ask why Mr. Putin violates the rights of his own people

      Ok, you get a prison sentence for coming out as gay in Russia, but you only need to be black in America for a death sentence to be passed.

      Please!

      Country Prison pop Pop per 100,000 occupancy level % Un-sentenced %

      US 2,193,798 737 107.6 21.2

      CHINA 1,548,498 118 N/A N/A

      RUSSIA 874,161 615 79.5 16.9

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/spl/hi/uk/06/prisons/html/nn2page1.stm

      1. x 7

        difficult to compare stats like that due to country variations. For instance in China criminals often become involuntary organ donors rather than long-term inmates

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Prison for gayness in Russia? No!

        <<Ok, you get a prison sentence for coming out as gay in Russia, but you only need to be black in America for a death sentence to be passed.>>

        Sorry, being homosexual is not a crime in Russia. Yes, just as in the West, many people don't like gays, but being gay is not in any way a crime. The only crime is disseminating propaganda for non-traditional sexuality to minors, which is no big deal, really, and is similar to laws not so long ago in some Western countries.

        1. Tony Paulazzo

          Re: Prison for gayness in Russia? No!

          http://news.yahoo.com/russian-communists-call-15-days-jail-coming-gay-191258315.html

          Ok, I was a bit quick off the mark, but they're trying...

  25. Nehmo

    Thank you, Europe.

    The US government is something different than the US people. A lot of people (out of and in the US) don't really understand that, and they may blindly support any position the US government pushes. However, we are not all suckers.

    I'm an American citizen. On behalf of all of us, we thank Europe.

    1. Lars Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Thank you, Europe.

      Equally when we rant about the USA it's not about the people but about what has become of the "land of the free".

      In an earlier comment the TTIP was mentioned and it's rather funny to listen to Herr Trumpf ranting about how the US is ripped off by foreign countries because of the trade agreements made. Does he not know those agreements are written by the US industry ripping off the US population. What a sly guy. Some time ago, on FOX probably, some lady was weeping about how foreign countries now can take the US to court if they are not allowed to sell their shit in the USA.

      Perhaps it would be better for us to ask the US population to oppose the TTIP.

    2. Naughtyhorse

      Re: The US government is something different than the US people.

      So not a democracy then?

      I must admit I have never been able to fathom the difference between the stance adopted by the US Govt. vs the opinions of the american people.

      for eg next year, roughly half of the population will vote for a man (or fiorina....lol) that is borderline insane (carson.... okay batshit crazy) and clearly incapable of the task ahead.

      around 1/2 of the population?

      wtf?

      1. Lars Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: The US government is something different than the US people.

        Hello naughtyhorse. Lets have a look at that "1/2 of the population", it's a good question. In a two party system like the one in the USA it's either or, or nothing. The "nothing" part of the US voters is huge and disturbing. But the either or is also sic. Never in my life have I been confronted with the same hopeless choice as the Americans. Let me give you an example, when the Republicans, for reasons I will never understand, came up with something as totally mad as Sarah Palin. Most people voted for the party of their choice, what ever, for ever, probably true in any country. So American Republicans voted for the Republicans all the same, or did not vote at all. To suddenly switch from friend to enemy is hard.

        In other words, a two party system is not good at all, as has been so obvious in the USA for years.

        The USA needs one or several new parties to regain democracy but those two old parties will fight such an development as vigorously as any one party system. I would claim Canada is a more democratic country because they have been able to much avoid a pure two party system, much due to the French probably. (this to tease you Brits, of course.)

        The Presidential circus, the Republican cacophony, some later day.

        1. x 7

          Re: The US government is something different than the US people.

          " I would claim Canada is a more democratic country because they have been able to much avoid a pure two party system, much due to the French probably."

          taking their lead from Robespierre and Bonaparte, those famous frog democrats

      2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge
        WTF?

        Re: The US government is something different than the US people.

        So not a democracy then?

        No. The US Federal government has three branches, of which one is a democratically-elected republican legislature, one an executive with a democratically-elected leader1 and a huge array of appointed officials, and an appointed judiciary.

        And the democratic elections are hugely constrained by the de facto two-party system, the vast costs of making a feasible run, and artificial restrictions like term limits. Thus the power of voters is quite limited, and our ability to create a federal government that actually represents our majority positions2 pretty much nonexistent.

        Then, of course, there are the governments of the individual states, which complicate the situation further.

        So no, not a democracy. And that's good, because where the individual states have made use of "direct democracy" (ballot initiatives), the results have been largely abysmal. The vast majority of voters do not take the time to make the effort to understand issues or consider them reasonably.

        1And, technically, a democratically-elected Vice President, but the position has little inherent power and the VP is elected in conjunction with the President on a single ticket, so for practical purposes it's irrelevant to this discussion.

        2When such a thing can even be defined consistently, which is pretty much never, in a country this large and diverse.

  26. imanidiot Silver badge

    hipocrisy they name is EU

    noting that it currently believes it has been "highly inadequate" so far.

    They also applauded the EU Court of Justice's decision over Safe Harbor, noting that it "confirmed the long-standing position of Parliament regarding the lack of an adequate level of protection under this instrument."

    And then they turn right around and allow (and even actively support) very nasty data retention and spying laws in their own countries. And support nasty and rotten agreements like TTIP and CETA.

    I fear the EU is heading for a violent revolt they way they've been going lately.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Protecting Snowden will harm all

    Aiding and abetting Snowden who is guilty of treason and numerous other crimes will cost the EU dearly and it should. The naïve talking heads in the EU are about to get a very educational experience that they won't soon forget. In this case ignorance can and likely will get you killed.

    1. Naughtyhorse

      Re: guilty of treason and numerous other crimes

      So we can expect a plane from texas carrying bush. cheney, rumpsfeldt, rice at all to be touching down in the Hague any time soon?

      yahhh i thought so.

      oh and also... guilty until proven innocent? when did the supreme court sneak that one through?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Protecting Snowden will harm all

      Aiding and abetting Snowden who is guilty of treason and numerous other crimes will cost the EU dearly and it should

      As I asked before, are you sure you're allowed to use the Internet from within the US embassy?

      Yes, from the perspective of PART of the US government, Snowden's acts were not really popular and they are indeed a criminal offence. However, from another part comes the pushback in that the NSA has been shown not to obey even its local constraints, but that is not goign anywhere because the benefit of knowing everything is that you have plenty of stuff to blackmail people with (that's my assertion, not fact).

      From an international perspective, however, Snowden could be considered deserves a medal because he has provided hard evidence of activities that were before at best suspected but never proven. It demonstrated that US promises on espionage amount to absolutely nothing, and it removed a level of trust that was clearly undeserved. It put trust in the US where it belonged: in the waste basket (not that there was any left after Gitmo, the illegal renditions and the get-me-out-of-jail pardon after hanging Valerie Plame out to dry - an act that CERTAINLY was criminal).

      Thus, Snowden's status depends on your perspective. For me, he simply provided evidence of things I mostly knew already, just not in that much detail. It's not like they have been very subtle about it..

  28. W. Anderson

    It is a matter of "fact" that the revelations from Edward Snowden leaked US government documents has shown that the US government acted "illegally" and in a draconian fashion in spying and collecting communications data on tens of milions of Americans as well as "world" citizens (meaning several other countries on the planet Earth), including emails of 'verified' as those of children.

    This action by Snoden constitutes a Whistle-Blower status, and for Hillary Clinton and many other American politicians to say he would have been successful in reporting these incredible abuses to his superiors, or in calling him a traitor is grossly naive, ignorant and simple-minded.

    I sincerely hope that any European Union country, or any other in South America or Asian country who would grant Snowden asylum without possible extradition to USA is courageous to stand firmly against American bullying and oppressive actions.

    After all, if most other developed nations are American patsies and dupes, then the world is lost anyway.

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