For the first time since the cold war, the annual threat assessment presented by the Norwegian Police Security Service (PST) today revealed that Russian espionage and cyber attacks pose among the most serious threats to Norwegian civil society and government agencies, which shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to anyone following geopolitical developments as they’ve unfolded over the last decade or so.
The official confession coincides with news that Norwegian MPs Trine Skei Grande (Liberal) and Bård Vegar Solhjell (Socialist Left Party) have been denied entry visas to Russia in response to Norway’s failure to retract support for international sanctions against Russia.
Former Norwegian intelligence officials also voice concerns that America under Donald Trump may pose an equal – actually a worse – threat, and in all honesty, who am I to talk, liable for drawings such as these:
Despite my obvious condemnation of U.S. Army soldier Chelsea Elizabeth Manning’s (born Bradley Edward Manning) actions, for which she was sentenced to 35 years’ imprisonment, there can be no doubt that her crime was nowhere near fellow traitor Edward Snowden’s.
There’s also very little doubt that she has expressed her sincere regret, and clearly suffers much pain and unnecessary hardship in prison, unproportional to her crime, grave as it is.
Unforgiving as I may seem in all matters relating to high treason, I would, nevertheless, urge clemency for Manning, considering that her name currently finds itself at President Obama’s desk, in the hope that he finds it in his heart to let her go.
Watercolour painting: Chelsea Elizabeth Manning (born Bradley Edward Manning, 17 Dec. 1987). Blogger’s illustration, by way of Waterlogue.
The American born defector/Russian spy Edward Snowden was invited today, to attend the award ceremony for the Norwegian PEN‘s Ossietsky prize, rewarded to him, but remains in his principals’ custody in Moscow, unable to leave Russia, for fear of apprehension by western law enforcement agencies or intelligence, but also, I suspect, because the Kremlin probably is reluctant to let go of a highly valuable asset.
Needless to say this blogger has been convinced of Snowden’s treason all along, advocating an extradition I’ve known the FSB wasn’t very likely to agree to, in order to see justice done. Text continued below drawing.
A reasonable request, provided the American judicial system can be trusted, which I am confident that it still can, at least up until Donald Trump’s inauguration on 20 January 2017, after which any traitor to the American state with all probability is met with a very meagre chance of even appearing in front of a proper court.
Which is why I urge Norway – or any other country – to provide Edward Snowden with a safe haven – until law and order has been restored in the United States of America, hopefully within 2021.
The incontestable fact that Snowden remains a Russian spy in no way justifies an extradition to a system soon to be highly volatile.
Having said that, should decent countries offer such protection, on a temporary basis, of course, the chances of Russia providing free passage are in any event very slim.
Putting us all firmly back in square one, despite our good intentions, unless, of course, the Putin-Trump bromance obliterates all Russo-American antagonism.
As for the Ossietsky prize, you have to wonder what motivates an otherwise serious organisation to hand out prizes to an enemy of the entire west. But that’s the thing: Unlike the country for which Edward Snowden carried out his espionage, we remain free to award whom ever we like.
Rendering his treason all the more grave.
Top illustration: American born defector Edward Snowden. Blogger’s illustration.
I think I’ve made it abundantly clear, for years on end, what I think of popular heroes Julian Assange and Edward Snowden, but would, for the record, like to reiterate that I have always considered them henchmen of this here fellow (with documents appropriately reflected in his shades):
For which I expect we will see further proof in times to come. Not about to stoop to Donald Trump’s level, by reminding you that I told you so (even though I indeed told you so), I content myself with the knowledge that those who have objected will have to reconsider. Unless, of course, they actually knew all along.
And yes, I did see the cinematic Assange tribute Underground: The Julian Assange story (2012), which did little to change my mind. Granted he started out a regular punk, perhaps even with the best of intentions, but far be it from me to claim that his humble beginnings in any way acquits him of the damages he later came to bring upon us.
Same thing, of course, goes for infamous defector Snowden. I have yet to stumble over arguments convincing me that landing in Russia (!) with a huge pile of U.S. intel was a freak accident.
So yes, I do hate to say that I told you so.
But I did, didn’t I?
Top photo montage: Julian Assange and Edward Snowden. Sources: David G. Silvers/Flickr and Wikipedia. Montage: Blogger.
P.S. The post title, of course, serves more as caption for top photograph, than as a content headline.