What's the "civil libertarian" response when one of the movement's contemporary 'heroes' evades the reach of American law shares his protectorate with governments that use chemical weapons on their own people? Evidently, silence. With the Syrian government blocking UN investigators from finding the truth about their apparent chemical weapon use with assistance from Russia, the deafening silence from the self-appointed defenders of civil liberties like Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras should tell you all you need to know about their real intentions and priorities.
Why the silence? I suppose you don't want to start something up with the power that is now protecting the holder of the classified information that you hope will catapult you to fame and fortune. After all, you wouldn't want to force Russia to decide between protecting Edward Snowden and protecting the Syrian regime, would you?
And where is the great hero Edward Snowden in all of this? Is the courageous defender of liberties too much of a coward to speak out against his and Syria's common protectorate? Just what form of civil libertarian conscience allows one to stay silent in the face of mass murder protected by the government of the country they take refuge in just so that they don't have to face a legal trial at home? Under what definition of civil liberty does avoidance of a criminal trial under full and complete due process of law outweigh wholesale slaughter of thousands by their government?
For all the moral force claimed by the Greenwald and Snowden Left, where is the call for them to stand up and denounce Russia's open backing of Syria? For that matter, where is the call for Ed Snowden to leave Russia's protection in protest?
You won't see any of it - not from Greenwald and not from Snowden. You won't see any of it because if they truly cared about civil liberties and government tyranny, Snowden would be on a plane out of Russia tonight, even if that means he has to stand trial here at home. If they cared even the slightest bit about civil liberties and state sponsored tyranny, Glenn Greenwald's Guardian page would be lighting up in condemnation against Russia.
Yet, none of that. Glenn Greenwald and Edward Snowden don't want their hero status to be damaged by such pesky things as mass chemical attacks against middle easterners. No, they're too important for that.