Like Glenn Greenwald, Roger Stone Links a Pardon for Edward Snowden to a Corrupt Pardon for Julian Assange

After being pardoned for his crime of lying to Congress last night, Roger Stone called for a pardon for Julian Assange and Edward Snowden.

Stone welcomed the pardon and complained he’d been subjected to a “Soviet-style show trial on politically-motivated charges.”

The longtime political provocateur also urged the president to extend clemency to a key figure in the release of hacked emails during the 2016 campaign, Julian Assange, and to National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden.

“Other good Americans have been victims of a corrupt system made to serve venal power-seekers,rewarding deceit and manipulation, rather than reason and justice. President Trump can be the purveyor of justice over the vile machinations of wicked pretenders to the mantle of public service,” Stone wrote.

Unless Bill Barr shut it down in preparation for the pardons to come (a very good possibility), DOJ has an ongoing investigation into the circumstances under which Roger Stone started pursuing a pardon for Assange, one that ties a pardon for Assange to Stone’s successful optimization of the release of the John Podesta files in October 2016. That might even make Stone’s call a new overt act in a conspiracy that started in 2016.

What it also does, though, is tie a hypothetical Snowden pardon — one that otherwise would have nothing to do with Trump’s crimes — to this quid pro quo.

Stone is not the first to do so in a corrupt way, of course. So did Glenn Greenwald, when he pitched such a dual pardon as a way for Trump to get back at The [American] Deep State on Tucker Carlson’s show, back in September.

Glenn: Let’s remember, Tucker, that the criminal investigation into Julian Assange began by the Obama Administration because in 2010 WikiLeaks published a slew of documents — none of which harmed anybody, not even the government claims that. That was very embarrassing to the Obama Administration. It revealed all kinds of abuses and lies that they were telling about these endless wars that the Pentagon and the CIA are determined to fight. They were embarrassing to Hillary Clinton, and so they conducted, they initiated a grand jury investigation to try and prosecute him for reporting to the public. He worked with the New York Times, the Guardian, to publish very embarrassing information about the endless war machine, about the Neocons who were working in the Obama Administration. To understand what’s happening here, we can look at a very similar case which is one that President Trump recently raised is the prosecution by the Obama Administration, as well, of Edward Snowden for the same reason — that he exposed the lies that James Clapper told, he exposed how there’s this massive spying system that the NSA and the CIA control, that they can use against American citizens. Obviously this isn’t coming from President Trump! He praised WikiLeaks in 2016 for informing the public. He knows, firsthand, how these spying systems that Edward Snowden exposed can be abused and were abused in 2016. This is coming from people who work in the CIA, who work in the Pentagon, who insist on endless war, and who believe that they’re a government unto themselves, more powerful than the President. I posted this weekend that there’s a speech from Dwight Eisenhower warning that this military industrial complex — what we now call the Deep State — is becoming more powerful than the President. Chuck Schumer warned right before President Obama — President Trump — took office that President Trump challenging the CIA was foolish because they have many ways to get back at anybody who impedes them. That’s what these cases are about Tucker, they’re punishing Julian Assange and trying to punish Edward Snowden for informing the public about things that they have the right to know about the Obama Administration. They’re basically saying to President Trump, “You don’t run the country even though you were elected. We do!” And they’re daring him to use his pardon power to put an end to these very abusive prosecutions. One which resulted in eight years of punishment for Julian Assange for telling the truth, the other which resulted in seven years of exile for Edward Snowden of being in Russia simply for informing the public and embarrassing political officials who are very powerful.

While there’s abundant evidence (which press organizations and journalists who’ve been personally involved are dutifully ignoring) that Julian Assange has been something other than he has been claiming for years, I have always believed a Snowden pardon is an entirely different thing, something far more justified. But if these people who were running interference for Guccifer 2.0 back in 2016 and have continued to do so to this day keep linking a corruptly negotiated Assange with a Snowden one, it does raise questions about whether there’s some closer tie.

22 replies
  1. Montana Voter says:

    So,is there any other support for the alleged abuses by the Obama administration beyond Greenwald holding forth to Tucker Carlson on Fox “news”?
    This citation seems to support a view of the situation no one else has pursued.

  2. SaltinWound says:

    Maybe there’s a closer tie. Also possible people are pairing Assange with Snowden to make Assange appear less corrupt. His pardon being mentioned in the same breath as Snowden’s reflects well on Assange whether there’s a tie or not.

    • PeterS says:

      I’m not smart enough to envision the closer tie, but I agree that people may be pairing Assange with Snowden to make the former appear less corrupt.

    • d4v1d says:

      I somehow got an email the other day from The Intercept pleading for donations because their year-end campaign only raised a quarter of their fundraising target.

  3. Colonel Alexsey Potemkin says:

    “While there’s abundant evidence (which press organizations and journalists who’ve been personally involved are dutifully ignoring) that Julian Assange has been something other than he has been claiming for years”

    I knew it, he’s a Vulcan

  4. Peterr says:

    That might even make Stone’s call a new overt act in a conspiracy that started in 2016.

    Well, that didn’t take long. Maybe Stone can ask for and get a second pardon on January 19th.

  5. jaango says:

    A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all that post and share their opinons here at Emptywheel, and in particular to the moderators that I somehow keep busy addressing my minimal level or number of posts, with their attention.

    Thusly, the truth-telling that is practiced here at Emptywheel, on the diverse subject areas of National Security, Defense and Civil Rights, and is one of the few media outlets that effectively demonstrates that these subjects that personify our nationhood, as well as the historians’ excellent attention for attempting to achieve the consequential value of Decency Personified, is highly visible on the internet.

    As to the subject matter of this thread, I must return to my political prism that is the Chicano Movement and where, back in the 1950s, there was only one Chicano Elected Official, and residing in Texas. And today, there are over 8.000 Chicano Elected and Appointed Officials serving in our governement. As such, the ‘long game” in achieving this necessary fruition, is continuing. Otherwise, what started as joke in the 1980s, was the advocacy for establishing a national monument titled as the National Monument For Criminal Stupidity. And this “joke” has now been concretized, and further, the next 20 years commences this ‘reality.”

    However, back in history or from the years of the Bush/Cheney ‘reality’ for their advocacy for more War, the AUMF Resolution, was a pivotal moment. And had our national Constitution been exported into the nations of Afghanistan and Iraq, the second class citizenship for women would have self-destructed this political obscenity and today, we would be able to extricate our nation after 20 years of war-fighting and the attendant cruelty, and as is currently practiced within our national borders, and where “power” is the firmament that diminishes our domestic and international standing.

    In closing, President Trump’s “pardons and commutations” simply put, diminishes today’s reality in the political arena, that the consummate behavior from the Republicans, writ large, place no value on Decency Personified, while “power” is the requisite ingredient that has become commonplace for fascist-oriented authoritarianism of these past many years, starting when the Republicans adopted the behavior, that has been practiced since the inauguration of President Obama. Therefore, this “opposition” morphed into authoritarianism, writ large. Therefore, Emptywheel’s Truth-Telling has been at a premium level for this past decade and a half.

  6. RMD says:

    these people who were running interference for Guccifer 2.0 back in 2016

    Reason I stopped reading GG, in the runup to the 2016 election it was obvious where his bread was buttered.

  7. John Langston says:

    James Risen made a good case for whistleblowers, even for Assange.

    Regardless, Assange did misrepresent his role and also implicated a dead DNC staffer to cover his tracks. I’d say that is separate from his role as a journalist. Certainly he’s not a whistleblower like Snowdon, or Reality WInter who’s serving jail time.

    BTW- I made an earlier post in another thread on EW where I misidentified Risen with another author. Risen was the “original Snowdon” that identified illegal wiretapping under Bush Jr. During Snowdon’s time it was generally the same program invading individual privacy done but “legally”. The Feds went after Risen for a time even though he uncovered govt law breaking. You might remember how the pundits on Fox went nuts and called for his head?

  8. ren c says:

    ugh I hate commenting but everything in the GG blurb was spot-on. Following along, it’s all statecraft to me and sometimes a nation state or one if its actors vis a vis assets does a service for another; would that we had been able to stop the creepshow at the start. I know Ms Wheeler whom I love like a sister, rides GG pretty hard but the chap did a good turn

  9. Dopey-o says:

    I just don’t see any possible link betwee Snowden and Assange, except for Vlad Putin. If they both get presidential pardons before Jan 20, that would convince that there is something there.

    And that would just be another link in the chain binding our current president to Moscow.

    Reality Winner, OTOH, probably deserves at least a commutation of her sentence. Not sure who would grant that, but she’s been inside prison long enough. Time for Mercy to temper Justice.

    • bmaz says:

      Fully agree about Winner. It is time and would be entirely appropriate to commute her. Think Assange and Snowden are far more problematic, but who knows with Trump, he is a bit crazed.

      • Peterr says:

        Trump is “a bit” crazed?

        You need to quit pulling your punches, bmaz, and learn how to say what you really think. Don’t hold back, and just speak your mind.


  10. Eureka says:

    FYI re linkage local reporter chose to make re Nashville bombing:

    Phil Williams: “The Nashville bomb was detonated outside an AT&T switching facility, raising the question about whether the company was the target. AT&T is viewed as a sinister force by some in our society. 2/2

    AT&T Helped U.S. Spy on Internet on a Vast Scale (Published 2015)
    Newly disclosed N.S.A. documents show that the agency gained access to billions of emails through a “highly collaborative” relationship with AT&T. ”
    12:44 PM · Dec 25, 2020

    Don’t know how far this reporter is pointing: some irked replies note a “sensationalized” link to Snowden (revelations); as another (also) says, could be a great case of reporter’s intuition. But it could also somehow be informed. Remains to be seen…

    • Eureka says:

      re Nashville bombing: this was interesting (in a very creepy way; speculative, as noted. Some weird ass folks out there):

      The Tennessee Holler: “This is admittedly a speculative rabbit hole about the account where we found the video of the blast today, but one Internet sleuths might want to have a gander at…”
      7:44 PM · Dec 25, 2020


      Ford Fischer: “THREAD: I have discovered something online that *could* be relevant to the Nashville explosion, but I want to be extremely clear that I don’t know what – if anything – to infer from it. I’m hoping appropriate experts and authorities can take a look.”

      • Eureka says:

        I should point out that in the suspicious possible ‘alt’ account this person found, one of the weird videos flashes the Irish tricolor (still favored by nationalists in the North).

        As many have separately observed, forewarned bombings recall the IRA, e.g.:

        Someone may be exploiting said symbolism.

        And as a still-separate stick in my craw — that Putin’s chef’s outfit goes by the same acronym, lifted into widespread American consciousness again … I’ve always seen that as an attempt to hijack (obfuscate, manipulate, inspire) meaning in the minds of Americans (like lots of other crap they do).

        I share the following because of the history of threats against Dominion, and I’ve already figured out a bunch of this disinfo space (tho ? what’s in the Kraken filings which may be germane, if at all):

        In other news, the Trumpers have linked this to Dominion — not getting into their Q stories, but the base of it is this inaccuracy: Cerberus Capital Management used to own the AT&T Building ***** the “Batman Building”, _NOT_ where the bomb was placed.****** They link Cerberus executives with Dominion board members (who knows if that is true).

        An inaccurate if well-meaning NON-Trumper shares one of their screenshots with (in the text of the tweet) mis- and dis-info here, unlinked:

        I have identified that this text is replicated on a number of nutjob sites, PREDATING the attack (one even looks to be one of those lefty-RU-horseshoe types, but am not clicking to find out). One of the (many) articles is titled, “Steps You Can Take To Stop The Steal” (I’ll append search link showing this next).

        The point: it’s possible that there’s an escalation in the Q games, by a party acting at a higher order (i.e. to not only inflame radical right tensions / chaos, but to attack localized critical infrastructure / details the Q folks don’t mind glossing like the “wrong” building for their theories).

  11. JJ says:

    Just want to echo John Langston’s comment. Regardless of all of Assange’s many flaws and alleged/actual misdeeds — and I don’t doubt there are many — the one key problem with extraditing and then prosecuting him as a co-conspirator with Chelsea Manning is that investigative journalism becomes criminalized. This is a problem. Is Wikileaks a publication source or a “non-state hostile intelligence agency”? Are you a journalist or an activist? If you’re labeled as an activist or an agency, forget about source-journalist privilege.

    I’ll be honest. I do not get why Roger Stone wants Assange pardoned, but I’m willing to bet some ugly Stone-related information might surface if he were to testify. The request for Snowden’s pardon along with that of Assange may well just be a smokescreen — an off topic smokescreen that makes Stone look slightly less… well, like who he is.

    Just because you and Greenwald have a beef between the two of you — a pointless one, I think — doesn’t justify critiquing him on this issue, if that’s what’s happening. I certainly don’t want to presume. But it’s weird to read this post knowing that Greenwald bashed you a while back. Do journalists really do this retaliatory thing? If so, why?

    Both Assange and Snowden need to be pardoned at this point. And let everyone who wants to continue to investigate/indict/etc. Assange for all the other stuff.

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