On July 17, CounterPunch posted an article by Israel Shamir entitled Snowden in Moscow. In it, Shamir writes:
- Snowden was not seeking limelight, quite the opposite! He wished to stop the crimes being committed by No Such Agency in the name of American people, no more, no less. He hoped to become a new Deep Throat, whose identity would never be revealed. His first profound revelations were made by correspondence; he flew to Hong Kong as he was familiar with the place, spoke fluent Chinese, and planned to return home to Hawaii. It appears that the Guardian Newspaper pushed him into revealing his identity.
Shamir cites no sources for this. It should be clear that his claim implicates Glenn Greenwald, since Greenwald was the Guardian‘s contact with Snowden.
Shamir’s article has caused something of a row, as reported in an article in Popular Resistance. The article includes an exchange of e-mails between Kit Flynn, Greenwald, and Shamir, in which Greenwald flatly denies Shamir’s claim. (He also calls Shamir “an idiot”.) In one of the e-mails, Shamir makes the following revealing comment: “As probably you are aware, I am not a friend of the Guardian, a newspaper that smeared me in many possible ways.”
In its July 19-21 issue, CounterPunch posted Shamir’s reply to the Popular Resistance aricle, entitled Snowden in London: A Postscript. In it, Shamir writes:
- Naturally Greenwald (whom I never even mentioned) did not make decisions for Snowden, as far as I know. As for responsibility – yes, I do think that the Guardian was responsible for providing Snowden with a safe route. Remember, Hong Kong was a preferred (by Brits) jurisdiction to arrange for rendition, as Counterpunch reported.
Journalism is a rough game, but it is still a human occupation. You can’t take a guy, goad him into spilling the beans, and drop him at the gate of police station. Even if he was ready to tell all he knew: still one is responsible for his safety.
Apparently we have different ideas of responsibility. My idea: “one should protect the source; help the man to reach safety, and only then to release info.” Their idea: “publish and let the guy fry. It is his choice. We are just publishing.”
I am being guided by compassion to the defector (for Snowden is a defector from the Power to the People side), PopRes and GG are guided by cold-nosed wish to get the stuff and dump the guy.
Isn’t this cute? Shamir starts out by denying that he ever accused Greenwald of pushing Snowden, and he then proceeds to imply that that is just what Greenwald did. (Note that Shamir doesn’t acknowledge that Greenwald has put himself at risk by reporting Snowden’s revelations.)
Shamir then gives us this high-minded sentiment:
- This is the bottom line, and we could reach it without so much of abuse and vehemence. We have different ideas of responsibility. Let us remain – each one – with these ideas. I have no wish to argue these points again.
Don’t you just hate this guy?