Image and video hosting by TinyPic














Saturday, July 27, 2013

Open letter to Alexander Konovalov, Russia's Minister of Justice

(This is the text of a letter I have sent via email to the Russian Ministry of Justice. Google provided the Russian translation. If some of the references seem obscure to you, you should know that Mr. Konovalov once considered a life at the Russian monastery on Mount Athos. The "inheritance and garden" quotation -- paraphrased below -- derives from the rich lore surrounding that place, which the Orthodox consider holy. If you want to send a letter of your own, the address is pr@minjust.ru.)

Я не знаю русского языка. Пожалуйста, передайте это письмо Александр Владимирович Коновалов, министр юстиции. Я надеюсь, что кто-то в министерстве может перевести это письмо должным образом. Я буду включать компьютерный перевод, который может быть неисправен.

His Excellency Alexander Vladimirovich Konovalov
Minister of Justice
The Russian Federation
14 Zhitnaya Ulitsa
Moscow 119991

Dear Mr. Minister,

I am an American political writer. I cannot claim to be an important writer, although I do have an audience. I am writing to you to plead on behalf of Edward Snowden, the former employee of our National Security Agency who has asked for your country to provide asylum.

Please help him. Edward Snowden is a man "seeking his inheritance and his garden, his haven of salvation for those seeking to be saved." In his case, the great land of Russia may provide the haven he seeks.

Four days ago, you received a letter from Eric Holder, Attorney General of the United States. He assured you that "Mr. Snowden will not be tortured. Torture is unlawful in the United States."

That fact that an Attorney General feels a need to make such a statement indicates how far my country has declined. The United States of America has become infamous for the practice of torture. Although I love my country, I have seen it become far less civilized than it was when I was born.

Holder insulted you by telling you such an obvious falsehood. He also insulted both Russia and the United States of America.

I can disprove Holder's statement by mentioning one name: Yuri Nosenko. I'm sure you know the name. Americans and Russians may always disagree about what he did, but no-one can deny that CIA operatives imprisoned Nosenko without trial. They tortured him continually over the course of five years.

The example of Nosenko, by itself, proves Holder a liar. But I can cite more recent examples.

As I write, Private Bradley Manning is facing trial after years of confinement. Both Amnesty International and Juan E. Mendez, a United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture, have confirmed that he received extremely inhumane treatment, including sleep deprivation, forced nudity and solitary confinement.

John Walker Lindh, accused of various terrorism-related offenses, was tortured harshly and repeatedly. His confession was obtained under duress. He entered into a plea bargain arrangement, the terms of which specify that he is not to discuss the torture he underwent. The fact that the U.S. government made such an arrangement constitutes a confession that the government does, in fact, conduct torture.

Jose Padilla was tortured while imprisoned. He underwent sleep deprivation, shackling, unbreathable fumes and enforced stress positions. He was forced to take LSD and other drugs.

The Bush administration admitted that it tortured Mohammed al-Qahtani. Charges against him were dropped because evidence had been obtained via torture.

The world knows about the torture undergone by other prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay.

The world saw the photographic evidence proving that Americans conducted torture at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

The world knows that the CIA has tortured prisoners at "black sites" around the world.

The world knows that the conditions in many American prisons are unnecessarily harsh and dehumanizing.

I have no doubt that many of the individuals mentioned above committed serious crimes. Unfortunately, many of my fellow Americans have forgotten that the laws against torture must apply to all prisoners, even to the ones accused of terrorism.

Bradley Manning's only real crime was releasing to the public a classified video that showed an atrocious act committed by the American military. This video, in my opinion, should not have been labeled "secret" in the first place.

Edward Snowden did not compromise the security of the United States. He strengthened it, by telling the American public that the United States has implemented a horrifying system of mass surveillance -- a system which contradicts the fourth amendment of our Constitution.

Saint Silouan the Athonite is said to have possessed the power to know the most secret thoughts of anyone who met him. Only a holy man should have such an ability. It is a blasphemy and a horror for my country's National Security Agency to attempt to learn all the secrets of all the world's inhabitants.

Perhaps Mr. Snowden was trying to make this very point.

I've always admired Russian culture and the Russian people. I hope you can give Edward Snowden a new home in your country.

Joseph Cannon
Editor of the website "Cannonfire"
http:cannonfire.blogspot.com
Maryland, United States of America


Его Превосходительство Александр Владимирович Коновалов
Министр юстиции
Русская Федерация
14 улица Житная
119991, г. Москва

Уважаемый господин министр,

Я американский политический писатель. Я не могу утверждать, что важным писателем, хотя у меня есть аудитория. Я пишу Вам, чтобы просить от имени Эдварда Сноудена, бывший сотрудник нашего Агентства национальной безопасности, который попросил для своей страны предоставить убежище.

Пожалуйста, помогите ему. Эдвард Сноудена это человек "ищет свое наследство и его сад, его гаванью спасения для тех, кто хочет спастись". В его случае, великая земля Россия может предоставить убежище он стремится.

Четыре дня назад вы получили письмо от Эрик Холдер, генеральный прокурор Соединенных Штатов. Он заверил, что "г-н Сноуден не будут пытать. Пыток является незаконным в США."

Тот факт, что генеральный прокурор чувствует необходимость сделать такое заявление, указывает, как далеко моей стране снизилась. Соединенных Штатов Америки стал позорный для практики пыток. Хотя я люблю свою страну, я видел это гораздо менее цивилизованным, чем это было, когда я родился.

Держатель оскорбил вас, говорю вам, такая очевидная ложь. Кроме того, он оскорбил и Россия, и Соединенные Штаты Америки.

Я могу опровергнуть заявления Держателя, упоминая одно имя: Юрий Носенко. Я уверен, что вы знаете имя. Американцы и русские всегда расходятся во мнениях относительно того, что он сделал, но никто не может отрицать, что сотрудники ЦРУ Носенко тюрьму без суда и следствия. Они пытали его постоянно в течение пяти лет.

Примером Носенко, сам по себе, доказывает Держатель лжецом. Я могу назвать недавних примеров.

Как я писал, частный Брэдли Мэннинг предстает перед судом после нескольких лет заключения. Оба Amnesty International и Хуан Э. Мендес Специальный докладчик ООН по вопросу о пытках, подтвердили, что он получил крайне бесчеловечное обращение, включая лишение сна, принудительный наготы и одиночной камере.

Джон Уокер Линд, обвиняемых в различных, связанных с терроризмом преступлений, пытали жестко и неоднократно. Его признание было получено под давлением. Он заключил сделку о признании вины расположение, условия, которые указывают, что он не обсуждать пытки он прошел. Тот факт, что правительство США сделали такое устройство представляет собой признание того, что делает правительство, по сути, проводят пытки.

Хосе Падилья был подвергнут пыткам, находясь в заключении. Он прошел лишение сна, кандалов, непригодным для дыхания паров и насильственные позиций стресса. Он был вынужден принять ЛСД и другие наркотики.

Администрация Буша признала, что пытали Мохаммед аль-Катани. Обвинения против него были сняты, потому что доказательства были получены с помощью пыток.

Весь мир знает о пытках претерпела со стороны других заключенных в Гуантанамо.

Мир увидел фотографические доказательства того, что американцы проводили пытки в тюрьме Абу-Грейб в Ираке.

Мир знает, что ЦРУ пытать заключенных в «черных дырах» по всему миру.

Мир знает, что условия во многих американских тюрьмах излишне жесткой и бесчеловечной.

Я не сомневаюсь, что многие из упомянутых выше лиц совершивших тяжкие преступления. К сожалению, многие из моих коллег-американцев забыли, что законы против пыток должен применяются ко всем заключенным, даже на те, обвиняемых в терроризме.

Брэдли Мэннинга только реальные преступления предании огласке объявление видео, которое показали гнусное действие, совершенное американскими военными. Это видео, на мой взгляд, не должны были помечены "секретно", в первую очередь.

Эдвард Сноудена не поставить под угрозу безопасность Соединенных Штатов. Он укрепил ее, рассказывая американской общественности, что Соединенные Штаты осуществили ужасающая система массовых охранные системы - системы, которая противоречит четвертой поправки к нашей Конституции.

Преподобного Силуана Афонского, как говорят, обладал властью, чтобы узнать самые сокровенные мысли каждого, кто встречался с ним. Только святой человек должен иметь такую ​​возможность. Это кощунство и ужасом для Агентства национальной безопасности моей страны, чтобы попытаться узнать все секреты всех жителей планеты.

Возможно, г-н Сноуден пытался сделать этот самый момент.

Я всегда восхищался русской культуры и русского народа. Я надеюсь, что вы можете дать Эдварду Сноудена нового дома в вашей стране.

Джозеф Кэннон
Редактор сайта "Cannonfire"
http:cannonfire.blogspot.com
Мэриленд, Соединенные Штаты Америки
Comments:
THANK YOU.
 
Good for you. Most Americans agree with you, I think. I noted that the comments to the New York Times article about this mostly expressed disgust at our government, and at Eric Holder in particular. By the way, Professor Bill Black also posted a commentary which can be seen on the nakedcapitalism.com website.
 
Good on you, Joseph.

I think you should change the blog name to
CANNONBALLS.

Ben
 
Hi Joe,

Somehow I got out of the habit of reading your blog during the last presidential election. But I have to say, that is one great letter. Thank you for writing it--I'm glad I thought about your blog again.
 
Thank you from me too! It's a beautifully composed letter - exactly the right tone for the circumstances.

 
Perfect - Polite and Succinct.
I wish all our political intercourse were thus.

 
An appeal to Konavalov's conscience, or at least to the crook's public relationship with it? Worth a try, and very well pitched. It won't do any damage; I hope it has a positive effect.

But you may be underestimating the ultra-macho nature of Russian governance.

The KGB (FSB & SVR) is a very big player in the Snowden case.

As more and more stuff is deliberately being put out into the open in both the US and the UK, people in Russia who come into contact with these changes will react by thinking, "You mean everybody didn't already know that? We've known that stuff for ages!"

It reminds me of the mid-1990s when the fact that shopping mall surveillance cameras are for real suddenly stopped being something that people were afraid to recognise, for fear of being associated with 'nutters', and became "what everybody knows - yawn - are you still going on about that, you boring old bastard?". Then a few years later the same happened with mobile phone tracking. The public mind is completely controlled.

The same is happening now with surveillance of, and control over, computers and cars.

I wonder whether the plan is to let the public know about electricity mains too?

Or the massive use of face recognition software.

Or the massive tracking of practically everyone.

Or the massive use of audio surveillance to go with the video.

As for the monastic republic of Mount Athos, isn't that the Enron of the Balkans? :)

Including an introduction to such letters in Russian is a good idea - it shows politeness and respect - but I think it might be best not to include a Russian translation of the whole thing unless it's of decent quality. Unfortunately, this one isn't. For example, "попросил для своей страны предоставить убежище" means "asked for his own country to grant asylum".
 
This comment has been removed by the author.
 
b, if I knew you knew Russian, I would have begged for your aid!

But after running the letter into Russian via Google's translation service, I used the same service to put the whole thing back into Russian. To my pleasant surprise, nearly everything was comprehensible.

The introduction makes clear that the translation was done via machine, and that my letter should be translated properly before it is quoted or used in any way (which isn't likely).

Judging from what I've read, Konovalov isn't a complete cynic. Life at Mount Athos is pretty austere. Only a sincere individual would contemplate such a life.

Maybe I should mention here that the "inheritance and garden" quote comes from a bit of lore concerning the Virgin Mary. According to an ancient tradition, she was sailing to another city when a wind diverted her boat onto the shores of Mt. Athos, which is, for a practical purposes, an island. She pronounced the island a holy place. And she was the last woman to set foot there!

So the place is not for everyone. Seriously.

Perhaps the best-known religious teacher on the island was the Archimandrite Sophrony, who died in 1993. In 1922-25 -- before his conversion -- he was a well-regarded avant-garde artist in Paris.

"In my young days ... I had been attracted to the idea of pure creativity, taking the form of abstract art. ... I derived ideas for my abstract studies from life around me. I would look at a man, a house, a plant, at intricate machinery, extravagant shadowscapes on walls or ceilings, at quivering bonfire flames, and would compose them into abstract pictures, creating in my imagination visions that were not like actual reality. ... Fortunately I soon realised that it was not given to me, a human being, to create from 'nothing', in the way only God can create. I realised that everything that I created was conditioned by what was already in existence. I could not invent a new colour or line that had never existed anywhere before. An abstract picture is like a string of words, beautiful and sonorous in themselves, perhaps, but never expressing a complete thought..."

Speaking as a (former?) artist myself, I think he has a point.
 
By the way, b: The Russian monastery on the island is Agiou Panteleimonos. The monastery involved with the shady land deal is Vatopedi.
 
OK, point taken regarding the Russian monastery, and I didn't know the lore concerning the BVM and Mount Athos.

I have a vague memory of Jacques Delors going to Mount Athos and there being 'international financial issues', maybe in the same ballpark as German government concerns about the Isle of Man, or EU financial concerns about Vatican City. Funny how things go down the memory hole. I also tried to find a reference to the suggestion made by a Maltese politician during a 'crisis' only a few (15?) years ago that SMOM should have sovereignty over Valletta harbour, but without success!

In no way would I wish to be dismissive of the spirituality of all Russian Orthodox believers. Certainly some of them were among the very strongest mental resisters in the labour camp system; their actions showed that they genuinely believed that the State was the Antichrist. Which they didn't mean in a libertarian Randroid way at all!

I once had a friend who wrote a paper on the role of Sophia in Vladimir Solovyov's work. His 'Sophiology' was a big influence on Russian Symbolism.

Sophrony's panentheism - agreed, it would be ridiculous not to respect its depth and value.
 
Post a Comment

<< Home


This page is 

powered by Blogger. 

Isn't yours?


























Image and video hosting by TinyPic


FeedWind



FeedWind




FeedWind