Edward Snowden: Stay where you are!

Hans-Christian Stroebele has just landed a perfect political coup by visiting Snowden in Moscow. Even the NSA, CIA and the other 15 spy agencies of the U. S. were caught by surprise, not to speak of the dozy German Federal Intelligence Service (BND). Stroebele’s visit has sparked an intense debate over the question whether Snowden should testify in front of a parliamentary investigation committee of the German Parliament in Germany or be heard in Russia. This question has been coupled with the granting of asylum for Snowden.

Already in July, Snowden’s asylum request was turned down because he was not considered a “political refugee”. In the current debate, the German government reiterated its former position. Except for the Green Party and the party “The Left” and some journalists, hardly anybody supports political asylum for Snowden because it would severely damage the German-American relations. Even the Social Democratic Party operates very cautiously. This surprises no one, because the Social Democrats want to become a junior partner in a large Coalition with Chancellor Merkel’s CDU, which is submissively dependent to the U. S. Empire. She marvels at the United States of America. As a former East German citizen, Merkel might have a too quixotic picture of the U. S.

The former German Ambassador in Washington, Wolfgang Ischinger, is already trying to limit diplomatic damage. In an Op-Ed in the New York Times he called for rebuilding trust between the two countries. Both countries pursue their overriding goals that should enjoy priority over “bad management and hubris”. According to Ambassador Ischinger, everything should be avoided to deepen the trans-Atlantic rift. The Europeans should resist giving tit for tat.

One important argument, which is put forward in order to keep the spy affair low-key, is economically. Over 50 per cent of the world’s population lives within a circle comprising, inter alia, China, India, Japan, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam. The “Old West”, Europe and the U. S., will not only be outnumbered demographically but also economically. That is why the signing of a free trade agreement is of utmost importance that does not tolerate deferment by “Snowden affair”.

In an interview with the German magazine The Stern, Snowden’s father, Lon Snowden, has discouraged his son from applying for asylum in Germany. Asylum in Germany would prove as a trap for Snowden because it would be like a revolving door for his extradition to the U. S. Alone, Germany could never stand the gaff by the U. S. Empire; besides that, the majority of the Germans don’t want Snowden in Germany. Edward Snowden should not be dazzled by voices from the left and green political spectrum, which have no decision-making power.

Snowden should not even testify in Moscow before a parliamentary investigation committee because it would not have any effect on the German political attitude towards the United States. In July, when the phone-hacking scandal and the surveillance scandal by the NSA and the Brits became public, the German government has played them down. After Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cell phone has been bugged by the NSA via the U. S. embassy in Berlin for the last ten years, all of a sudden, it was considered a scandal. However, the real scandal took place in July, when the German government played down the massive surveillance of its whole population by the NSA and the British intelligence agency.

Dr. Ludwig Watzal works as a journalist and editor in Bonn, Germany. He runs the bilingual blog Between the lines. He can be reached at: www.watzal.com. Read other articles by Ludwig.