Silver Lining

Food for thought

Obama cancels Moscow meeting with Putin over Snowden

by Carlos Latuff

Obama Cancels Moscow Meeting with Putin over Snowden

Al Manar

US President Barack Obama has canceled a meeting with President Vladimir Putin in Moscow which was scheduled for September, AP reports, Russia Today reported. The move comes after Russia’s recent decision to grant temporary asylum to NSA leaker Edward Snowden.

With few signs that progress would be made during the Moscow summit on this and other agenda items, officials said the president decided to cancel the talks.

“We’ll still work with Russia on issues where we can find common ground, but it was the unanimous view of the president and his national security team that a summit did not make sense in the current environment,” White House deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes said.

Rhodes also stated that the decision to grant Snowden temporary asylum within Russia’s borders “exacerbated” an already tumultuous relationship between the two nations.

Instead of visiting Putin in Moscow, Obama will add a stop in Sweden to his early September travel itinerary.

The decision follows Obama’s comments on Tuesday evening’s Tonight Show with Jay Leno that “here have been times where they slip back into Cold-War thinking and a Cold-War mentality. And what I consistently say to them, and what I say to President Putin, is that’s the past and we’ve got to think about the future, and there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be able to cooperate.”

A White House official later confirmed the cancellation of the meeting. While Snowden’s temporary residency permit is the catalyst for the summit being called off, the US cites “lack of progress” pertaining to other differences between the two countries.

Snowden, whose US passport has been revoked, was granted one year’s temporary asylum in Russia last Thursday. The whistleblower is wanted in the US on espionage charges after revealing secret NSA surveillance programs to the public.

Among other issues, Russia and the US have considerable differences over the situation in Syria, with the US government determined to see President Bashar Assad ousted from his position. The House and Senate Intelligence Committees gave a green light to arm Syrian rebels at the end of July.

The last time the two leaders met was in June at the G8 Summit in Ireland.

The G20 summit will be held on September 5-6, with the US deeming it sensible to still attend, as the annual gathering brings together the world’s largest economies. Obama said that it makes sense for the US to have high-level representation at the event.

————————————————————————————-

Journalist Publishing Snowden Documents Says 20,000 Documents in His Possession

Al Ahed news

The journalist who published classified US documents obtained by whistleblower Edward Snowden Glenn Greenwald said he possesses up to 20,000 secret US government files.

Greenwald made the comment before a Brazilian Senate foreign relations committee on Tuesday.

“I did not do an exact count, but he gave me 15,000, 20,000 documents. Very, very complete and very long,” Greenwald told Brazilian lawmakers.

“The stories we have published are a small portion. There will certainly be more revelations on the espionage activities of the US government and allied governments…on how they have penetrated the communications systems of Brazil and Latin America,” he said.

Moreover, Brazilian O Globo magazine recently published that Washington had maintained at one time a spy center in the capital of Brasilia as part of a network designed to intercept foreign satellite transmissions.

This prompted US Vice President Joe Biden last month to call Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff to provide an explanation.

“The pretext [given by Washington] for the spying is only one thing: terrorism and the need to protect the [American] people. But the reality is that there are many documents which have nothing to do with terrorism or national security, but have to do with competition with other countries, in the business, industrial and economic fields,” Greenwald noted on Tuesday.

Last month, leaks by Snowden revealed to a covert surveillance program that collects metadata named XKeyscore used by the NSA to monitor internet traffic.

In his Tuesday testimony, Greenwald described the system as not only able to collect metadata “but also the content of emails and what is being discussed in telephone conversations. It is a powerful program which frightens.”

This comes as US President Barack Obama expressed “disappointment” over Russia’s temporary asylum to Snowden instead of sending him back to the US to face espionage charges.

In response to the asylum, Obama had remarked that the situation reflected “underlying challenges” in dealing with Moscow.

“There have been times where they slip back into cold war thinking and a cold war mentality,” Obama said on NBC’s Tonight Show.

He further confirmed his trip to Russia to attend the G20 summit in September, which was earlier said to be postponed over the Snowden issue.

The White House had stated earlier in this regards that it was reevaluating the trip for its “utility.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s