Ron Paul Launches Snowden Clemency Petition

Credit: Gage Skidmore/wikimediaCredit: Gage Skidmore/wikimedia

Today, it was reported that former Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) launched a petition calling for NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden to be granted clemency.

On the page on the Ron Paul Channel’s website where visitors can sign the petition, the former congressman says,

Edward Snowden sacrificed his livelihood, citizenship, and freedom by exposing the disturbing scope of the NSA’s worldwide spying program. Thanks to one man’s courageous actions, Americans know about the truly egregious ways their government is spying on them.

The news of Paul’s petition comes on the same day it was reported that the European Parliament had voted against calling for  Snowden to be granted asylum.

The New York Times and The Guardian both urged U.S. officials to grant Snowden clemency last month.

According to the Ron Paul Channel, Snowden’s temporary asylum in Russia will expire at the end of July.

Yesterday, Intelligence Squared hosted a debate on the motion “Snowden was Justified.” Speaking for the motion were legal adviser to Edward Snowden and ACLU attorney Ben Wizner and Pentagon Papers whistle-blower Daniel Ellsberg. Speaking against the motion were former CIA Director James Woolsey and former federal prosecutor and contributing editor to National Review Andrew McCarthy. 

Wizner said Snowden was justified “because he provided to journalists and through them to us information that we had a right to know and that we had a need to know. The government had not just concealed this information, it had lied to us about it.”

Woolsey claimed that Snowden had released information to “Hezbollah, Al Qaeda, Hamas, Pyongyang, Tehran, and so on.” Thankfully, Ellsberg pointed out that Snowden released information to journalists who have since reported on the documents.

Before the debate began 29 percent were for the motion, 29 percent were against the motion, and 43 percent were undecided. After the debate, 54 percent were for the motion, 35 percent were against the motion, and 11 percent were undecided.

Watch the debate below:

 

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  • Pavlov's Cat||

    Next step is to give Snowden a medal.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    I would not be opposed to that.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Nor I. The more I learn the better Snowden looks.

  • IT||

    I'm for that. Hell President Fuck Face got one for nothing.

  • Jon Lester||

    James Woolsey helped Joseph Farah launch WND's $99/year "G2 Intelligence Bulletin" (which tried to look like Stratfor but was more like a bad copy of Debka) by pushing his new book arguing that the "War on Terror" is actually World War IV, and the Cold War should be relabeled as WWIII. I wrote to express my skepticism and why I wouldn't subscribe, and the famously thin-skinned Farah wrote back something like, "if you think Woolsey's washed up and irrelevant, then indeed save your money." Idiot.

    A decade later, historians have not changed their terminology on the subject at all.

  • Dibbler||

    The New York Times and The Guardian both urged U.S. officials to grant Snowden clemency last month.

    Broken clock principle in effect.

  • Outlaw||

    It'll never happen, but even if it did, he should stay in Russia. They would fuck him one way or another.

  • Marshall Gill||

    Clemency? Fuck that, a full pardon and nothing less.

  • Brett L||

    Might as well this the "NSA Enhanced Surveillance Priority List"

  • sarcasmic||

    Even if he was granted a full pardon, returning to the US would still be suicide. Literally.

  • Winston||

    So will they either find some weaselly way to say that he is being arrested for something he wasn't pardoned for, just arrest him anyway with a FYTW or straight up kill him?

  • sarcasmic||

    If he came back to the states there would be long lines of federal agents itching to put a bullet in the back of his head. Would it be officially sanctioned? Doubt it. Would the murder be rigorously investigated? Absolutely.... not.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Really?

    Too high profile. We aren't that far gone...yet.

  • sarcasmic||

    He embarrassed a lot of very powerful people.

  • Invisible Finger||

    You're right. Car accidents are the preferred method these days.

  • sarcasmic||

    Good point.

  • OneOut||

    If "they" wanted to kill him, living in Russia would not stop "them".

  • IT||

    NSA Whistle Blower Snowden Killed in Car Crash

  • x4rqcks3f||

    “Snowden was Justified.”

    I'm not watching a two hour video that could be replaced by a two page article. But I'm guessing that no one defined "justified", and that the entire debate was, like most, semantic drivel.

  • John||

    Speaking of national security and such, I have no idea if this is true or not. Don't really care. But when I read this all I could think was "here is how they will do it if they ever are able to, just accuse someone of having ties to terrorists and then bring the full weight of the anti-terror laws down on them."

    http://www.breitbart.com/Big-G.....epublicans

  • OneOut||

    It would be a lot easier and more damning to simply upload some child porno onto one of his electronics and then send an anonymous tip.

    Keeps your name out of the media as well.

  • MarkinLA||

    Especially when you can put it on the drive and delete it so the drive owner doesn't know it was ever there and it can look to a court like the guy was intentionally trying to hide it but those smart guys at the FBI were just too sharp

  • Tony||

    Hi I'm John and I never listen to those talk radio guys or watch Fox News. My opinions, which are always suspiciously identical to the rightwing talking points du jour, are my very own. Hey, how about this link to Breitbart.com!

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Please do us all a favor and go kill yourself, you bootlicking piece of shit. John's comment simply suggests how a statist (Republican or Democrat) would indict Snowden. That you want to discredit based on innuendo shows what a fascist piece of shit you are.

  • mplspolitics||

    Is that the new talking point on your OFA 3x5's? DIE IN A FUCKING FIRE TONY.

  • Rohdewarrior||

    Am I doing something wrong? To sign the petition I had to put @R after my first and last name.

  • Ama-Gi Anarchist||

    I'm sure the dirtbags at MSDNC or Slobbin-on-Obama (aka Salon) will find some way to accuse Ron Paul of PLAGIARISM cause someone had the courage at the scummy NYT to say the same thing....

  • On The Road To Mandalay||

    I wish Ron Paul and Rand Paul would build their own space ship and LAUNCH themselves into outer space. I can think of a few other habitual politicians that would apply to. They could take the Clintons with them for starters.

  • Hierophant||

    Go fuck yourself you pile of shit.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Based on what? I find myself in agreement with Hierophant. If you want to destroy Snowden for pointing out our government's wrongdoings, at least have the basic integrity to make your case.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Shit, Hierophant, didn't mean to reply to you, but to the little fascist wanting to destroy true patriotism.

  • On The Road To Mandalay||

    Hierophant

    I'm happy you enjoyed reading my comment. You have a nice day, Anal Breath.

  • mplspolitics||

    Oddly enough, I was just fantasizing about having a time machine and appointing you to head the Challenger flight. Pound sand.

  • Response||

    I suppose justice would indicate that Snowden deserves clemency/pardon. By exposing the NSA, he has shown the American people that their own country is spying on them and how - this exposure is good. He's also showed the world that the US is spying on them and how - showing how to the world is not so good. So laws were broken, but his intentions were good. Are intentions enough to justify clemency? If his intentions were malicious would we be looking for his incarceration? If there are any lawyers out there, what is the legal ramification of intentions towards legal cases?

  • Will Nonya||

    Granting clemency signals that the ends are more important than the means.

    Believing that good intentions are all that matters is what keeps the progressives moving forward to 'protect' us and the neocons "defending' us abroad.

    As libertarians you have to grasps that how we do something is as important as what we do. The means are as important as the ends.

  • Jefferson's Ghost||

    There were no other means that didn't end with his martyrdom and then the information getting out would just not have happened.

  • Christophe||

    As libertarians we also reject the notion that laws have moral primacy.

    Did Snowden break the law? Yes.

    Would I ever convict the man if I was on his jury? No.

    Not because his intentions were good (although I am sure they were), but rather because a man who acts to protect the US Constitution against a clear domestic threat is something to be celebrated.

  • Will Nonya||

    Fuck em

  • ThinkThrice||

    Regardless of how you feel about our policy - running to China and Russia with our secrets is the wrong way to change things. Snowden is a traitor and has, to say the least, really hurt our diplomatic efforts and endangered the lives of our fellow Americans. The Russians should surrender Snowden to us for punishment (life in prison or death).

    I really support libertarian ideas but this Snowden clemency nonsense has got to stop! You don't think Google, Yahoo, Facebook along with and to a greater degree your isp provider (Time Warner / Comcast / whoever) and some countries (China/Russia) have information on what you do online? They do - with exception to foreign countries they might not use it in any way but advertisement (in the case of the tech companies listed above) but they do have this information. That said, do you want your government to at least have as much capability as these technological behemoths and the Russians and Chinese? I don't know about you but I sure as heck do! If these companies are monitoring what we do, I want the fed to monitor them!

  • Will Nonya||

    I don't see Snowden as a hero and agree that he is has made his bed and now he was to lay in it. We are better off because of his actions but that doesn't excuse them.

    That said it was the actions of our government which damaged our diplomatic relations.

    In regards to the tech companies and government capabilities I don't think our government should have this capability much less the belief that they can use it with impunity. The key difference is that any data collected by the tech companies occurs because I voluntarily divulge it. I can opt out, switch providers or simply not use their services. You can not opt out of government surveillance nor should you have to.

  • ThinkThrice||

    Will - I respect your opinion. It seems we agree on somethings. But I disagree with some of the points you made.

    The only way you can 'opt out' of isp/tech company surveillance is by not using your phone or internet, in which case you are also opt'ing out of possible US government surveillance and spying by Russia and China.

    Regarding the actions of our government - our government acts in our interest always - that's the point of it - where it doesn't we can act to change it in-house - not through a leak in Russia. Since other countries and corporate entities can and do monitor / spy on us, we should have the capability to know what they are monitoring/spying on.

    If Snowden had gone to the FBI (the governments check and balance for the NSA and CIA) as a whistleblower and provided this information it would be handled as the FBI saw fit.

  • Christophe||

    our government acts in our interest always - that's the point of it

    I'm assuming you're some regular's sockpuppet, because this is gold. Not even Tony would say something this dumb.

    where it doesn't we can act to change it in-house - not through a leak in Russia

    Except without the "leak in Russia" (which is coming from American, British, and German newspapers, but don't let the facts confuse your narrative), almost no one outside the NSA itself would even know this was happening. We wouldn't be having this conversation. Period.

    Since other countries and corporate entities can and do monitor / spy on us, we should have the capability to know what they are monitoring/spying on.

    Wake me up when any of China/Russia/Google/Apple have the capability to send a SWAT team to my house, kill my dogs, and put me in a rape-cage to 20 years. It's not sane to hold our own government to the same standard as backward dictatorships, and it's even less sane to assume that whenever I store sensitive data with one party, I'm ok with letting the 1 million Americans with a top-secret clearance look at it.

  • ThinkThrice||

    Christophe - China/Russia/Google/Apple cannot legally send a SWAT team legally to your house kill your dogs and put you in a cage for 20 years and neither can the NSA.

    See below for some brief data. You'll find your 'private party' is quite a large group of people.

    AT&T:
    Employees - 270,000 / Wireless Customers - 100 Million
    Verizon:
    Employees - 150,000 / Wireless Customers - 145 Million
    Sprint:
    Employees - 40,000 / Wireless Customers - 60 Million
    T-Mobil:
    Employees - 40,000 / Wireless Customers - 40 Million

    Just these 4 companies have 500,000 employees and provide wireless plans for 350 Million people.

    Google:
    Employees - 50,000 / Searches per Year - 2.1 Trillion / Google Chrome Users - 300 Million / Android-powered devices -
    hundreds of millions

    etc, etc, - to be fair these companies are great and provide great services - I'm only listing them for context.

    Look - if guns weren't invented yet we wouldn't need them - since guns exist - I want one and I want everyone else to have the right to own one as well and I want my government to have a lot of them and I want those guns to be cooler than any other countries guns (simply put). If information and technology are as deadly as weapons now - and they are - I want my government to be as sophisticated as anyone else.

  • Christophe||

    ... neither can the NSA.

    My eyes can't punch people, but if I was blind I'd be less effective at violence. The NSA is an organ of the State, and we know for a fact that it has shared information with the DEA and FBI on a variety of garden variety criminals. It's already helping put people in cages. Maybe they're not the kind of people you care for, but the NSA's tools were never meant to be used in that way.

    If you had any idea of the level of security that exists inside tech companies to stop users' data from being accessed by people on the inside, you'd stop thinking this is a clever argument. You even try to access someone else's facebook profile, as an employee, they'll find out immediately and you're out the door before the day is over. They don't fuck around with privacy, because if they lose the confidence of their userbase, it's game over.

    In the NSA, we've seen evidence of people spying on their spouses (amongst other things), and not only were the reprimands small (no one was fired, for one), all the breaches were self-reported. Let that sink in for a minute: there is so little oversight on this system, that they rely on everyone being honest.

    If information and technology are as deadly as weapons now I want my government to be as sophisticated as anyone else.

    Oh, don't worry, they've got plenty of weapons, technological or otherwise. The issue is those weapons are pointed straight at us.

  • ThinkThrice||

    Christophe quote- "If you had any idea of the level of security that exists inside tech companies to stop users' data from being accessed by people on the inside, you'd stop thinking this is a clever argument" - not credible -

    Google - "Reuters) - Google will have to display on its French search page a notice saying it has been fined by the local data-protection watchdog over how user information is tracked and stored, France's top administrative court ruled on Friday."- Reuters

    Google - "Google faces a $22.5m fine (£14.5m) for breaching the privacy of iPhone and iPad users after bypassing cookie rejection settings on the devices, according to reports.

    If confirmed, the fine would be the largest ever imposed by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) against a single company – and would be the second time this year that the search giant has fallen foul of regulators in the US." - the Guardian

    T-Mobile - "An employee of wireless service provider T-Mobile sold millions of customer database records to data brokers, leading to the biggest breach ever seen in the U.K., according to news reports.

    ...revealed yesterday that a mobile service operator had lost "thousands" of customer records sold by an employee who had access to the service provider's database. The employee, who no longer works at the service provider, earned "substantial sums" for selling the records, which were used by rival providers to get customers to switch services, the ICO says." - Dark Reading

  • Christophe||

    I'll do everyone else a favor and link to the actual articles about Google:

    http://www.reuters.com/article.....Z620140207

    http://www.theguardian.com/tec.....ad-privacy

    Note in both cases, not actual user data was leaked, but rather regulators disliked google's methods in gathering user data.

    I'll grant you that telecoms (as opposed to tech companies, which was the original subject of my comment) are pretty shitty with their security (especially billing/credit card information). Compare that with Apple which has 600 million credit cards on file, and no leaks.

  • Christophe||

    Oh, and contrast to the NSA, where a simple webcrawler was sufficient to extract hundreds if not thousands of document. And they still are trying to figure out how much he got, since they had no auditing systems in place to detect it.

  • Christophe||

    And before I leave for the night, I'll end with the following:

    The NSA's techniques aren't effective against the kind of people they're mandated to go after. That horse left the barn about 25 years ago.

    Any half-trained terrorist can use PGP and th NSA will simply not be able to read his messages. Anyone who cares enough can fully shield themselves. And the kind of people who are willing to die and kill innocents to further their cause are willing to learn the tools.

    So who is the target?

    The charitable answer is that they're catching the stupid terrorists, the ones with zero skill, no awareness that they are be monitored. In that view of the world, the NSA is "just" wasting billions of dollars and violating everyone's 4th amendment rights to catch the morons that aren't capable of doing much if any harm.

    Much like the FBI, who sets up infiltration of "terrorist cells" where the infiltrator has to first plan an attack, acquire weapons, and often bankroll the targets in order to then catch them.

    The real answer is of course that this system exists primarily to trace everyday criminals, malcontents, and "potential threats" in the broadest sense.

    It's not looking outward but inward (not a first for the NSA), and eventually scope creep will make it target the politically inconvenient. With so many felonies these days, they'll find something that sticks.

    Just like the IRS, any agency with unlimited power must inevitably become an enforcement bludgeon against the people.

  • ThinkThrice||

    I know - heads should roll over how he got the info in the first place.
    Good argument and good night - I think we agree America is the greatest country around and discourse like this proves it.

  • ||

    "I think we agree America is the greatest country around"

    Is this satire?

  • Christophe||

    If Snowden had gone to the FBI (the governments check and balance for the NSA and CIA) as a whistleblower and provided this information it would be handled as the FBI saw fit.

    Snowden would have been put in jail immediately, the files would have been destroyed/returned, and the NSA would have learned to better secure it (making the next guy's task that much harder). This isn't paranoia, there's evidence on this site of what's been done to previous whistleblowers who went through the official channels. At a minimum, they had their carreers destroyed and their names sullied. They were made an example of, so that no one would dare do it again. I'm glad that backfired so spectacularly by forcing Snowden to act outside the system.

    Why the fuck do you think the FBI is an effective counterforce for the NSA when they've been receiving information from the NSA about various non-terrorist criminal activity, and they helped hide that fact by employing parallel construction?

    All the state's agencies are batting on the same team. Unfortunately that team is acting against the rights, liberties and common interest of the American people.

  • Christophe||

    I really support libertarian ideas

    Then proceeds to fellate the total surveillance state. Because we should beat the Chinese at spying on our own citizens.

    No you don't buddy. Not even a little bit.

  • XM||

    So Ron Paul, the editor of a racist newspaper wants to spare Edward Snowden, who betrayed the president's trust only because he's black. Yes, we know Republicans hate black people.

    If the president was white, would Snowden have blown the whistle? That's the question.

  • mplspolitics||

    I'm hoping this is sarcasm, right?

  • XM||

    that is the million dollar question.

  • josh||

    off topic...

    what's that quote that i can vaguely remember seeing about how, if you're against government doing something, some people say you're against it, period....?

    can't find it, and i need it. thanks!

    anyway, play on.

  • Christophe||

  • josh||

    thank you! I feel like you deserve a prize. this being a libertarian environment, i'll simply leave you alone, and we'll call it even.

  • AmericanPrivacy||

    •Computers collecting and analyzing Internet traffic is just as much "surveillance" as a person peeping through a window
    •Note that human rights law doesn't allow mass, untargeted spying on ordinary, innocent people;
    End mass spying now! Section 215 of the Patriot Act should not be used to collect every single Americans' calling records. And Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act shouldn't be used to "incidentally" or otherwise collect Americans' emails, phone calls, or chats. Protect the privacy rights of our digital communications.
    Securing digital data, one computer at a time...
    www.americansrighttoprivacy.com

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