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Communications EU Government Privacy United States Politics

Non-Binding Resolution: EU States Should Protect Snowden 210

The New York Times reports that the European Parliament has voted to adopt "a nonbinding but nonetheless forceful resolution" urging the EU's member nations to recognize Edward Snowden as a whistleblower, rather than aid in prosecuting him on behalf of the United States government. From the article: Whether to grant Mr. Snowden asylum remains a decision for the individual European governments, and thus far, none have done so. Still, the resolution was the strongest statement of support seen for Mr. Snowden from the European Parliament. At the same time, the close vote — 285 to 281 — suggested the extent to which some European lawmakers are wary of alienating the United States. ... The resolution calls on European Union members to "drop any criminal charges against Edward Snowden, grant him protection and consequently prevent extradition or rendition by third parties." Also at Wired, USA Today and many others; Snowden himself has tweeted happily about the news.
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Non-Binding Resolution: EU States Should Protect Snowden

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  • Sovereignty (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Breaking news: EU Parliament grudgingly acknowledges the remaining limited sovereignty of member states.

  • by JustNiz ( 692889 ) on Thursday October 29, 2015 @02:31PM (#50827557)

    This seems entirely contradictory to their stance on Assange.
    I wonder why.

    • Snowden isn't accused of a sex crime as Assange is, and that ultimately is the only difference really that I can see. Assange isn't under thread of extradition from the 'espionage', it's that whole other thing.
      • by jc42 ( 318812 )

        Snowden isn't accused of a sex crime as Assange is, and that ultimately is the only difference really that I can see. ...

        Wonder why not? You'd think it'd be just as easy to find (and fund) a few women to accuse Snowden of sexual assault. It's not like US prosecutors have never used such tactics in the past.

        One conjecture is that the US government keeps thinking it can get an assassin in to take him out, but that's turning out to be a bit trickier in Russia than it was in Pakistan or a few other countries we might list. Maybe the judicious thing would be to abandon that approach, and revert to the tried-and-true sex accu

      • by WeeBit ( 961530 )
        Swedish officials failed to question Assange before the expiration dates, they could not formally file charges against him on three of the charges. Those charges were dropped the only crime left is the rape and that will expire in 2020. Sweden would extradite him to the United States where he could be charged over WikiLeaks' 2011 publication. I don't believe that man will ever leave the Ecuadorean Embassy in London.
        • I've seen no evidence that Sweden would send him to the US under any circumstances. I've seen a lot of unsupported claims.

          • by WeeBit ( 961530 )
            True but Sweden would be under a lot of pressure from the US who knows what the US will be saying behind closed doors to Sweden. There are always deals to be made between countries. Someone in the US has it in for the man and I don't see them ever letting up. Check comments around the web. So many out there that can't stand Assange, or Snowden.
      • There is at least one other difference: Snowden didn't commit his alleged crime inside a member country (Asange's alleged sex crime happened in Switzerland). Moreover Snowden's revelations didn't seriously harm or indict any member governments (except the UK though to a much lesser degree than the US) while Asange has targetted all governments and embarrassed the EU and several member countries more than once.

        I would like to believe the former aspect is the decider here, but the cynic in me suspects the lat

    • by Lisias ( 447563 ) on Thursday October 29, 2015 @02:37PM (#50827611) Homepage Journal

      This seems entirely contradictory to their stance on Assange.
      I wonder why.

      It's a wild guess, but perhaps Snowden being a whistle blower that helped (indirectly) the EU in their privacy concernings, in contrast with Assange, that is a whistle blower that fsckd up every single Country in the World, can be a reason.

      • helped (indirectly) the EU in their privacy concernings

        Oh horsepoo. The EU were a willing party in the campaign to spy on citizens of the world. They are only a bit pissed when it turned out senior government figures were being spied on too.

        • by Lisias ( 447563 )

          Oh horsepoo.

          Lisias. Nice to meet you. :-)

          The EU were a willing party in the campaign to spy on citizens of the world. They are only a bit pissed when it turned out senior government figures were being spied on too.

          Exact. They want to spy citizens of the world, they don't want the world spying THEIR citizens.

          Being the reason I stated " *their* privacy concernings", not mine of yours. ;-)

      • This seems entirely contradictory to their stance on Assange.
        I wonder why.

        It's a wild guess, but perhaps Snowden being a whistle blower that helped (indirectly) the EU in their privacy concernings, in contrast with Assange, that is a whistle blower that fsckd up every single Country in the World, can be a reason.

        Assange is offically not wanted by the US, and he already have the right to be in EU. Snowden needs an Asylum to protect him from being extradicted, and to be allowed to stay in EU in the first place.

        • by Lisias ( 447563 )

          Assange is offically not wanted by the US, and he already have the right to be in EU. Snowden needs an Asylum to protect him from being extradicted, and to be allowed to stay in EU in the first place.

          Humm... Do you realize that Assange is the one in confinement inside the Ecuador's Embassy IN LONDON in order to avoid extradition, don't you?

    • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Thursday October 29, 2015 @02:59PM (#50827803)
      Snowden has narrowed down his information releases to one specific topic - secret government monitoring of civilian communications channels. In both the U.S. and EU, Snowden is probably right and this was illegal on the part of the government. Assange (and Manning) took an indiscriminate approach and just released everything they could get their hands on, legal or illegal, right or wrong. No government with secrets of their own is going to condone or encourage the latter.

      IOW, Snowden was blowing the whistle to try to stop the train to save it. Assange and Manning were trying to derail the train.
      • What train, the train of surveillance? That train needs to be derailed.

      • None of that should matter for Assange though. Manning, sure... To get the intel job, she would have had to get a security clearance; which includes a secrecy oath and informed agreement to the non-disclosure paperwork. That's in addition to the oath of service that goes along with joining the armed forces in the first place. On top of all that, Manning is a US citizen and was inside the country when she leaked the docs. Whether you agree with the release or not, there's a pretty clear rationale for the

        • I haven't seen an anti-Assange witch-hunt yet. I've seen completely unsubstantiated claims of one. My personal read on this is that Assange doesn't want to go back to Sweden and face the rape charge, and is trying to save face by making up an international conspiracy.

    • As well they should! Whether you think any of them are doing good deeds or not, they are using a drastically different method of letting the public know about this stuff. Wikileaks will publish anything online, without redacted lines, Snowden goes through one journalist and it is that person that decides what should be published and what should be kept secret. Also, since he is going through a journalist the information is still being parsed today. Even if the government doesn't think Snowden is a whist
  • Good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Avarist ( 2453728 ) on Thursday October 29, 2015 @02:33PM (#50827579)
    Happy to see common sense, perhaps struggling, but still win. It's long overdue for Europe to stand up to the crumbling US.
  • Unless those member states are willing to violate their extradition treaties with the United States, the resolution is more or less meaningless.

    • by Halo1 ( 136547 )

      Unless those member states

      This is not a resolution by the member states. The member states are represented at the EU level by the EU Council of Ministers. The European Parliament is the (only) directly elected part of the EU structure, which often is at odds with the Council of Ministers (where the ministers often think more of national interests than of EU interests) and the Commission (which tends to do the opposite, or is too much steered by bureaucrats).

      are willing to violate their extradition treaties with the United States, the resolution is more or less meaningless.

      You piqued my interest, so I looked up the extradition treaty between the US [mcnabbassociates.com]

    • by Xest ( 935314 ) on Thursday October 29, 2015 @03:33PM (#50828051)

      Not one extradition treaty in an EU member state overrules the European Convention on Human Rights which all EU member states are signatories to and members of.

      The lack of the US' ability to guarantee Snowden will be granted a fair trial, means that any extradition treaty will be irrelevant in the face of a European Court of Human Rights challenge using the European Convention on Human Rights and it's implementations.

      This is precisely why the convention and court exist - to prevent any member state treating someone unfairly in violation of their fundamental rights by acting as a higher power that can determine if a member government is treating people within it's borders fairly or not. It's a fine example of the importance of it all, it's one entity that can tell governments it doesn't give a shit how much they wish to kowtow to the US, fundamental human rights come first.

      Of course a nation state could break protocol and ignore an ECHR ruling, but then it also doesn't get to dictate to places like China, Russia, and so forth about human rights anymore, because it would then be hypocritical and meaningless to do so.

      • The lack of the US' ability to guarantee Snowden will be granted a fair trial

        What makes you think he'd not get a fair trial in the US?

        It isn't like we take US citizens, even on the past with WORSE spy cases, and don't give them a trial with counsel, etc. While I'd not advise Snowden to come back to the US (he'd get a trial, but it is pretty open and shut IMHO that he broke the law)...I would say he would get a fair trial, it isn't like he's gonna be extradited and "disappeared"....

        I'm cynical but not TH

        • In the past, we've also given full trials and due process to criminals much worse than anyone we're holding in Guantanamo Bay. Granted Nuremberg was an international thing, not just a US procedure. But still, we had open trials, not a indefinite detention in an extraterritorial prison camp.

          Sadly, we've fallen from what we were before 9/11. And not only do we maintain that gulag in Cuba, we also have a network of black sites in eastern Europe and Asia where we shuffle people off to be tortured and murdere

        • > What makes you think he'd not get a fair trial in the US?

          Given the extraordinary nature and extent of the documents, the trial would not possibly be open, Judge and jury (if there was one) and defense attorneys would operate under extraordinary limitations of access to witnesses and documents that would establish justification for his whistle blowing, and various intelligence agencies would likely operate extra-legally to insure his conviction or even his early murder.

          • And how would that be authorized by the Constitution?

            Seriously, this is a fucking simple trial. This is what happens:

            1) The Prosecutor reads the statute, which bans leaking of Classified info.
            2) The Prosecutor shows a document, any document, from the stash that Snowden leaked.
            3) The Prosecutor cues up a video of him explaining why he leaked it.
            4) The defense does something, probably involving blaming Karpeles, because it is literally illegal for them to mention to the Jury that Snowden thought the leak was

            • > because it is literally illegal for them to mention to the Jury that Snowden thought the leak was in the public interest

              No, it's not "literally illegal". to mention that. The judge may give explicit directions against it, but intent is a critical and normal part of a legal defense, especially if Mr. Snowden cited the protections of the various "whistleblower" laws. There's also a great tendency of judges to shut down any attempt by a defense attorney to invoke "jury nullification", which is always avai

              • > because it is literally illegal for them to mention to the Jury that Snowden thought the leak was in the public interest

                No, it's not "literally illegal". to mention that. The judge may give explicit directions against it, but intent is a critical and normal part of a legal defense, especially if Mr. Snowden cited the protections of the various "whistleblower" laws. There's also a great tendency of judges to shut down any attempt by a defense attorney to invoke "jury nullification", which is always available to a jury even when the judge explicitly says "you must only convict or acquit on *this* basis".

                > There's no need for secrecy, special assassination teams, or anything special.

                There's also "no need" for the excessive and abusive monitoring that Mr. Snowden disclosed.

                Ever heard of the Pentagon Papers?

                The government got that Judge to rule that Ellsberg could not present a public interest defense. That meant no witnesses saying "it's great he leaked this, I needed to know that," no documents saying he should have leaked it, if his attorney seems to be getting in a bunch of digs and questions that would give the Jury the impression it was a good idea he leaked it the only way to make the Trial fair for the Prosecution (remember: "Fair Trial" goes both ways) is let them pre

                • I actually remember the Pentagon Papers, though not well from reading about them: it was roughly 50 years ago. But if you're referring to the charges filed against Ellsberg, please actually review the case, and then please try to claim that an accused whistleblower can get a fair trial as a matter of course. Even that one ruling by Judge Byrne that Ellsberg could not discuss his _intent_ for revealing the documents was grounds for appeal, and as best I could tell from the time part of a campaign to publicly

                  • Dude,

                    They don't challenge the legality of a law at trial. The Jury's role in deciding whether a law should be enforced is restricted solely to Jury Nullification, a practice that every Judge ever appointed has done his damndest to minimize because of it's unsavory use in the past. That means that if you're talking about the legality of a law, and you're using any legal phrase that includes the word "trial" you're being unforgivably imprecise. Trial is a completely different stage of the process, a challenge

        • by Xest ( 935314 )

          There are a number of issues with the US justice system that act as barriers for extradition and that a number of requested extraditions to the US have been denied on. The two issues are:

          - The US has a terrible modern track record on justice relating to national security cases both because of Guantanamo bay, and the way other whistleblowers such as Manning were treated. Typically this sort of thing can be dealt with with legal guarantees to the extraditing nation, but I believe the US has reneged on some of

        • >What makes you think he'd not get a fair trial in the US?

          The fact that there is no public-interest defense for federal whistle blowers (despite the fact that the need for one is a blatantly obvious self-evident truth) is enough to make it absolutely impossible to *give* him a fair trial no matter how good the intentions of the government or even the judge may be.

          • In other words, you are complaining about the laws, not the process. Snowden would get a fair trial, and would undoubtedly be convicted. I know of no whistle-blower protections that apply to people who reveal secrets about international relations; it's usually for people raising concerns in the system. I think he should be pardoned, myself. I don't want to see laws distorted to acquit him, just because he's an exceptional case.

      • Not one extradition treaty in an EU member state overrules the European Convention on Human Rights which all EU member states are signatories to and members of.

        And how is the European Convention on Human Rights related to a non-binding resolution passed by a body which does not have the legal authority to make a binding resolution in the first place?

        The lack of the US' ability to guarantee Snowden will be granted a fair trial, means that any extradition treaty will be irrelevant in the face of a European Court of Human Rights challenge using the European Convention on Human Rights and it's implementations.

        He's accused of leaking classified information. He did it. He's admitted as much in several public interviews. There is no leaker's defense in the US.

        The absolute last person in the world who wants a fair trial is Ed Snowden, because a fair trial results in a conviction. The absolute last people in the world who want t

        • by Xest ( 935314 )

          "And how is the European Convention on Human Rights related to a non-binding resolution passed by a body which does not have the legal authority to make a binding resolution in the first place?"

          I'm not sure you know how such conventions work. European conventions are imposed on member states as things that must be implemented. Each member state has a legal implementation that is binding, and that can be ruled upon by the European Court of Human Rights (they can also rule whether the implementation meets the

          • "And how is the European Convention on Human Rights related to a non-binding resolution passed by a body which does not have the legal authority to make a binding resolution in the first place?"

            I'm not sure you know how such conventions work. European conventions are imposed on member states as things that must be implemented. Each member state has a legal implementation that is binding, and that can be ruled upon by the European Court of Human Rights (they can also rule whether the implementation meets the standards of the legally bound to implement convention).

            This thread is not about a Convention.

            It is about a non-binding resolution passed by a Legislative body which would not have the authority to pass a binding resolution.

            If you want to change the subject to the ECHR you can do that, but you'll have to explain why the ECHR would apply.

            "He's accused of leaking classified information. He did it. He's admitted as much in several public interviews. There is no leaker's defense in the US."

            None of which has any relevance as to whether he'd get a fair trial. I'm not sure you really get how this whole justice thing works - hint: judgements are not decided upon what did or didn't happen in the spotlight of the media, only what happens in the court room.

            I;'m not sure you uinderstand the meaning of the term fair trial.

            A fair trial is a trial where the defendant has the right to properly respond to the evidence. If said evidence is truly overwhelming, the tiral is basically a form

            • by Xest ( 935314 )

              "If you want to change the subject to the ECHR you can do that, but you'll have to explain why the ECHR would apply."

              Well that's already been done, but you seem unable to stick to the thread of discussion. I should you step right back to the beginning and start again, because you're arguing that I can't bring something up, that is relevant to the actual thread of discussion based on the summary. Believe it or not, discussions on forums can arch from the strict bounds of the original summary.

              "A fair trial is

              • "If you want to change the subject to the ECHR you can do that, but you'll have to explain why the ECHR would apply."

                Well that's already been done, but you seem unable to stick to the thread of discussion. I should you step right back to the beginning and start again, because you're arguing that I can't bring something up, that is relevant to the actual thread of discussion based on the summary. Believe it or not, discussions on forums can arch from the strict bounds of the original summary.

                Here's my problem with that:
                Nobody (except me) has presented any reason why the ECHR should intervene that actually uses legal terms correctly.

                In particular you tech geek types seem so fixated on the "fair" bit of "fair trial" that you literally cannot comprehend that, legally speaking, a Fair Trial for Ed Snowden always results in a conviction; and therefore the ECHR is not able to keep him in Europe due to the likelihood of an unfair trial.

                I have explained, several times, why a Fair Trial would always con

      • by Kkloe ( 2751395 )
        Actually the fair trail has nothing to do with it as the EU would trust the USA the trail would be fair, the problem is as USA have death penalty, yes it is state wise and not all executions are even carried out, but that as there is a minute chance he could be sentenced to death then that will stop a extradition.
  • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Thursday October 29, 2015 @02:39PM (#50827637)

    At the same time, the close vote — 285 to 281 — suggested the extent to which some European lawmakers are wary of alienating the United States.

    Or, maybe European politicians are just sharply divided over the issue. That would be easy to believe, even if it doesn't fit the narrative of the poor little EU always cowering whenever the US clears its throat.

    • At the same time, the close vote — 285 to 281 — suggested the extent to which some European lawmakers are wary of alienating the United States.

      Or, maybe European politicians are just sharply divided over the issue. That would be easy to believe, even if it doesn't fit the narrative of the poor little EU always cowering whenever the US clears its throat.

      Perhaps they are considering that supporting Snowden will encourage whistle-blowing in their own countries, while those who voted not to prosecute Snowden are just for the photo ops, counting on the ineffectiveness of the resolution.

    • by tomhath ( 637240 )

      Or, maybe European politicians are just sharply divided over the issue.

      That seems far more likely to me. They aren't shy about criticizing the US for pretty much everything else.

  • The EU continues to be short for "bedwetting pansies" (French translation).

  • the close vote — 285 to 281 — suggested the extent to which some European lawmakers are wary of alienating the United States.

    This could be the case, but it also could be that they simply don't agree with the proposed resolution. I know Snowden is quite popular on Slashdot (and thus this possibility isn't), but the fact is that not everyone on the planet supports Snowden's decisions.

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