The strange case of Russia, gays, Snowden, and Greenwald

The following is a trailer for a documentary airing on Channel 4 in the UK. Entitled “Hunted”, it is a harrowing look at the lives gays lead in Putin’s Russia.

The Mirror newspaper has a write up on the documentary.

She discovered only 1% of homosexuals are openly gay, and the reason for this is very simple.

Vigilante gangs are on the lookout for targets and trying to infiltrate gay chat rooms or find gay men on social media.

Once found, the men are lured to a meeting place and captured like animals before they are beaten and filmed. It is common for them to have urine poured on them and to be left with permanent injuries.

But most of the gangs believe they are doing “good work”, link gay men with paedophiles, and see no shame in what they are doing.

This is the reality facing gay Russians. As we transition into the winter Olympics in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi, the games will be held in a country whose president says the country must cleanse itself of homosexuality, even as he makes assurances that gays will be welcome for the Olympics.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has offered new assurances to gay athletes and fans attending the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics next month. Yet he defends Russia’s anti-gay law by equating gays with pedophiles and says Russia needs to “cleanse” itself of homosexuality if it wants to increase its birth rate.

The Games will be held in a country where its legislature passed anti-gay laws in 2013 criminalizing disseminating gay “propaganda” to minors, out of a fear that doing so will make those children gay, with, of course, right wing US pundits applauding and lauding countries like Russia.

With this in mind, it seems odd that someone who has shot to prominence on the back of civil liberties has this to say about Russia:

Russia… [has] my gratitude and respect for being the first to stand against human rights violations carried out by the powerful rather than the powerless. By refusing to compromise their principles in the face of intimidation, they have earned the respect of the world.

Yes, globe-trotting leaker Edward Snowden had that to say about a country whose citizens hunt gays for sport, and whose government, on both a national and regional level, strives to make life for gays as miserable as it can. Obviously, those acts don’t count as human rights violations, or at least they don’t count if Snowden wishes to maintain his refuge.

I don’t expect a man who faces a long prison sentence in the country he betrayed to be too open about the glaring and horrific human rights abuses perpetrated by his country of adoption. (The North Caucasus? Supporting Assad the butcher?) But I do find it rather odd that his consigliere, Glenn Greenwald, a gay man, would be so reticent.

Well, I don’t, really. After all, Greenwald is a frequent guest on Russian propaganda organ Russia Today. And Russia has provided safety for his cash cow Snowden, which Greenwald has parlayed into an entirely new media venture funded by libertarian tech billionaire Pierre Omidyar. It takes a special cognitive dissonance to be a gay man who fled the US for its stance on gay marriage to remain silent on a country where homophobia is official state policy. I did several Google searches to see if Greenwald has written on Russia’s anti-gay laws and culture. I found one Tweet:

Now, I’m not as naive as to be unaware of the idea of “marriage of convenience”. Snowden and Greenwald have an agenda (and it’s not to expose malfeasance, regardless of what they say), and Putin’s interests intersect with theirs. It is what I like to call “the real world”. Nation screws nation, and so it has been and so it shall ever be until we hopefully figure out that it’s no way to run a fragile planet. But the idea that, in Snowden’s words, Russia is standing up for “the powerless” is laughable without having to do much research. The fact that Greenwald can dismiss Russia’s atrocious human rights record because, in his estimation, it’s right in this instance of supporting Snowden should make any real journalist’s hair spin. Strange bedfellows are the commonplaces of international relations. But putting lipstick on a pig doesn’t make it Marilyn Monroe. Supposed defenders of “human rights” have gotten into bed with a state which keeps losing them—for gays, for journalists, and, yes, for whistleblowers—on a daily basis. So, yes, those of us who don’t reflexively distrust everything the United States does do have a right to wonder if there is some hidden agenda. It is, in fact, an exercise of that vaunted skepticism which the emoprog crowd urges us to obtain. It’s simply that we don’t automatically take the word of a blogger from Rio or someone who took a job with the intent of leaking classified secrets. The adage “you’re known by the company you keep” applies in much of life, including this whole sordid affair.

I probably won’t watch this winter’s Olympics. The background information leaves too much of a bad taste in my mouth. But I can imagine both Snowden and Greenwald glued to their sets, cheering on their ally.

117 Responses to “The strange case of Russia, gays, Snowden, and Greenwald”

  1. 15 Nena20409
    February 5, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    Congrats Tally on Your Number Spot.

    Great Posts by all out TODable bts.

    Jay’s press at WH is about to start LIVE 2-5-14


    Back to catching Up…… 😉

  2. 16 Bill R.
    February 5, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    • 17 Obama Grandmama
      February 5, 2014 at 2:52 pm

      Okay, Paul Ryan trying to set the record straight? I do not get it! A new ploy for 2014 or 2016?

  3. 18 MightyPamela
    February 5, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    LL, have we told you lately you are brilliant??

  4. 19 hopefruit2
    February 5, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    Speak the truth LL! This is an EXCELLENT article. The Snowdenwaldians and the media who promote them are on notice.

  5. 20 Ladyhawke
    February 5, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    Freeing Workers From the Insurance Trap



    The new law will free people, young and old, to pursue careers or retirement without having to worry about health coverage. Workers can seek positions they are most qualified for and will no longer need to feel locked into a job they don’t like because they need insurance for themselves or their families. It is hard to view this as any kind of disaster.



  6. February 5, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    Sarah Kliff, who’s done some decent reporting on healthcare at WaPO, is leaving to join Ezra Klein at Vox.

  7. 24 Bill R.
    February 5, 2014 at 1:29 pm

  8. February 5, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    Regarding ‘hidden agenda’ in your, as always, fine essay, LL – Putin & the Kochs are, and have always been, indistinguishable to me. As the Soviet Union was dissolving, I had several conversations with Russian emigres about the fact that members of the KGB would emerge, publicly, as what they already were – ultra-wealthy tyrants. We had no doubt that Putin would be at the head of the pack.

    We know Snowden was interacting with Greenwald & Poitras well before he took the NSA contractor job in HI. Would not surprise me if it predated when Greenwald, stupidly, bragged about it:

    “But is this how it really went down? Greenwald tweets today: “Bart Gellman’s claims about Snowden’s interactions with me—when, how and why—are all false.” And: “The reality is that Laura Poitras and I have been working with him since February, long before anyone spoke to Bart Gellman….I have no idea whether he had any conditions for WP, but he had none for us: we didn’t post all the slides.””


    When one is pursuing the potential of a ‘hidden agenda’ in the saga of the traitorous actions of Snowden, Greenwald, and Poitras, one must be forever grateful to Greenwald for providing that chronological benchmark.

    The plutocratic agenda of the Kochs aligns well with Putin’s national and international agenda. One need only look at West Virginia and Sochi to get a glimpse of the consequences – for the majority of humanity.

    These are ruthlessly avaricious people. They view themselves as global tsars. Undermining cybersecurity of the US and its allies, in the age of information technology, would be high on my strategic list if I were one of them.

    As with the #47Percent video, and the audio of Koch & Christie, the merry band of #KOCHSTERS just received a bit more exposure than they would ever want.

    Moreover, nowing that the Kochs are closely aligned with the likes of Christie and Mitt merely confirms that if you are lawless, vicious and greedy you get to hang with them (it’s for us to make that literal).

    Know your enemy.


    Yes WE MUST

  9. 31 hopefruit2
    February 5, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    And so it goes….from Russia with love!!

  10. 34 Gazelle
    February 5, 2014 at 1:44 pm

    PBO’s revamped delegation to Sochi:

    • Janet A. Napolitano, former Homeland Security secretary and president of the University of California, leader of the delegation.

    • Michael McFaul, United States ambassador to the Russian Federation

    • Robert Nabors, assistant to the president and deputy chief of staff for policy

    • Brian Boitano, Olympic gold medalist, figure skating

    • Caitlin Cahow, Olympic silver and bronze medalist, women’s ice hockey

    I wish them well, I sure wouldn’t want that trip!

  11. 39 jacquelineoboomer
    February 5, 2014 at 1:48 pm

    How is what Putin in Russia is doing to gays any less than what Hitler did to gays, gypsies, blacks, and Jews – and anybody else he felt he needed to purge from his country?

  12. 44 hopefruit2
    February 5, 2014 at 1:49 pm

  13. 48 hopefruit2
    February 5, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    And crickets from Chuck Todd…

    • 49 LDS
      February 5, 2014 at 2:12 pm

      Another failed attempt to discredit this President and his administration.
      When will they ever learn?
      “No weapons formed against him shall prosper.”

      • 50 0388jojothecat
        February 5, 2014 at 2:48 pm

        Amen. This Prez has a daily host of family, friends and supporters like us who pray for him and rebuke his enemies…GOP Satan.

    • 51 Nena20409
      February 5, 2014 at 2:14 pm

      Willful distortions by the Media. When the truth is out, they once again pretend that they Never saw the facts.

      • 52 Obama Grandmama
        February 5, 2014 at 3:03 pm

        They might as well just say, “Do not listen to us cuz we are incompetent and just push the talking points of our bosses. It is not our job to research, read and give you truthful information. We are not your Grandma’s journalists.”

  14. 53 Gazelle
    February 5, 2014 at 1:59 pm

    [Joey! VP Joe!]:

    […..] Biden also praised the work of the UAW for its work, including efforts by political opponents to weaken unions.

    “These guys on the right — they know without you there — they call every shot,” Biden. “You guys are the only guys keeping the barbarians at the gate.”


  15. 54 Ladyhawke
    February 5, 2014 at 1:59 pm

    Robert F. Garnsey ‏@rgastoria 42s


    @EricBoehlert Chris Cilizza is a leading scribe in the false equivalence school of journalism


  16. 56 hopefruit2
    February 5, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    The guy who played Mr. Olson on “Little House on the Prairie” has died at the age of 89. May he RIP – was one of my favorite characters on that show. Nothing like Nellie and Mrs O! 🙂 🙂

    • 57 0388jojothecat
      February 5, 2014 at 2:52 pm

      I loved that show too. I liked the character he played. I liked that ML hired actors who played in many old movies. I always see folks in old movies that appeared as regulars on LHOTP.

  17. 58 Ladyhawke
    February 5, 2014 at 2:11 pm

    Jay Carney just shut down Ed ‘Cheshire’ Cat Henry on the CBO Report distortions. Schooled him big time.

  18. 63 Nena20409
    February 5, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    Jay’s Defense for Pres Obama and ACA is awesome…….Just Awesome. I just started listening and I didn’t hear the question by Alexander the Romney Tool.

  19. 65 hopefruit2
    February 5, 2014 at 2:17 pm

  20. 68 Nena20409
    February 5, 2014 at 2:18 pm

    CVS decision….No comments from POTUS for a former smoker? Jay said: I used to smoke a lot and he doesn’t see this…..as a Personal Issue on the POTUS…….these people are Just wicked idiots.

  21. 69 Gazelle
    February 5, 2014 at 2:18 pm

    [Ach no Mahn! Hope all their stuff shows up pronto! ]:

    Jamaica’s beloved bobsled team had to raise money just to get to Russia.

    Now they’ve arrived at the Sochi Games — but without their equipment.

    The carefree Jamaicans were unable to make their first practice runs Wednesday because their luggage, with the runners for their two-man sled as well as all their sliding gear, was missing.

    “The sled is here,” driver Winston Watts said. “But the blades that we put our heart out to get, the airline maybe left them back in New York. None of us have clothing.” […..]


    • 70 Gazelle
      February 5, 2014 at 2:19 pm

      Sochi has some bad juju! 🙂

    • 71 Ladyhawke
      February 5, 2014 at 2:26 pm

      The Sochi Olympics haven’t even started yet and there is nothing but disturbing news. From security concerns, LGBT treatment, hacking of Richard Engel’s computer, hotels not ready, athletes losing their equipment, on and on. A public relations nightmare. Roger Simon sums it up …..

      Roger Simon ‏@politicoroger 18h


      Has there ever been worse publicity for an Olympics than Sochi? If it doesn’t actually burst into flame, it will be a victory.


      • 72 Obama Grandmama
        February 5, 2014 at 3:10 pm

        Heard Shaun White will not be participating in new snowboarding event he promoted due to event venue construction being too dangerous. His wrist was injured there in practice and others have been hurt worse. He decided to save himself for event he has previously won Golds in.

  22. February 5, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    After a federal judge struck down Oklahoma’s same-sex marriage ban, the state’s Republican legislators are considering “getting rid of marriage in Oklahoma altogether — for everyone. Seriously.”

    The Rachel Maddow Show explains:


    • 74 Nena20409
      February 5, 2014 at 2:23 pm

      OK has what 2-3 Million people? How would they handle this with their tax breaks and Living in “SIN” as the Fundies would say?

      • February 5, 2014 at 2:31 pm

        I think this is a ploy to turn the straight folks against the gay folks…I hope that there are grass roots group working on maintaining UNITY…but noneth less…the snowball is rolling down the hill…the OK legislature will not prevail on this..

  23. 77 Nena20409
    February 5, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    Jay’s presser is over? Wow….Had I known I was this late to it, I would have waited for the Taped Video.

  24. 78 hopefruit2
    February 5, 2014 at 2:22 pm

    They have ran out of plans, ran out of ideas, and the media is desperate to give them a “win,” on anything – even if it’s a complete lie.

  25. 85 Gazelle
    February 5, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    [Damn. RIP Bunny.] From: http://thegrio.com/2014/02/04/reggae-singer-bunny-rugs-clarke-dies-at-age-65/

    William “Bunny Rugs” Clarke, the husky-voiced lead singer of internationally popular reggae band Third World, died of leukemia at his home in Florida, longtime friends and colleagues said Monday. He was 65.


  26. 86 Linda
    February 5, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    “I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded.”

    Edward “I now live in Russia” Snowden

  27. 88 JER
    February 5, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    • 89 Obama Grandmama
      February 5, 2014 at 3:15 pm

      They will probably use the ACA money for executive swimming pools, gyms and golf courses cuz that promotes healthy living in the 1% they care about.

      • 90 99ts
        February 5, 2014 at 5:08 pm

        New Jersey – they will use the money to build a monument to someone who thinks soon to be ex-Gov Christie is a great guy.

  28. 92 LDS
    February 5, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    HF, they never had anything since 2008, but to make this a “one time presidency”. They did not expect PBO to be here doing as well. Every time they go to the drawing board and have their secret meetings, they come up empty. This Russian fiasco is going to unveil a lot of shit that we were not expecting. I am coming to the realization that every time they reinvent lies and run with it before checking out the facts, it is a setup for us to be blessed.

    I am waiting for the GOP women to wake up and get disgusted. I try very hard to understand “stand by your man” theory ( even some Dems women I.e. Hillary et all) But “stand by a fool” is just too much for me to comprehend.
    When they lose all their seats, it is not going to be a pretty picture. But they brought it on themselves.

    Too many times PBO has tried to work with them. Blinded by their own hate, power, money and prejudices, their stony hearts refused to allow the change we are all loving and experiencing.
    It is just a matter of time. Their destiny and demise is now set in motion.

  29. February 5, 2014 at 2:49 pm

  30. 94 MightyPamela
    February 5, 2014 at 2:51 pm

    It’s feeling as if there may not be a Winter Olympics at all, isn’t it? Wouldn’t that be weird.

    • 95 LDS
      February 5, 2014 at 3:16 pm

      MP, weird but safe…..
      I prefer the latter. Russian seems to be like NJ. It stinks!
      (Sorry NJ lovers, I do mean political wise)
      Wasn’t Chicago similar with the Daley Dynasty?

      o/t: By the way, why is Rhamn Emanuel so quiet? He and Cory Booker must be hanging out or something?

  31. 96 Nena20409
    February 5, 2014 at 2:51 pm

    The Media TODAY:

    News about pres Obama…….The Media would Find every negative angle even when None is present. They will Invent one and pretend Not to Understand English.

    Chris Christie, or any TBGOPer unless so Obvious, the media would Use Nuances and Find and repair a broken bottle so as NOT to report a false story.

    Yet I hear Liberal media accusations by and from the likes of Wolf Blitzer, Gloria Borger, JoScar, etc?

  32. 97 donna dem 4 obama
    February 5, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    PBO is across the street at Nat’s Stadium. Yippee!!!

  33. 98 Gazelle
    February 5, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    [I say make love not war! Wouldn’t need this product if we did. Nevertheless, this is interesting.]:

    Modified syringe uses miniature sponges to seal a gunshot wound in 15 seconds

    The XStat device is currently being vetted by the FDA, but its supporters hope it will replace gauze in treating life-threatening wounds on the battlefield

    More here: http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/modified-syringe-uses-miniature-sponges-to-seal-a-gunshot-wound-in-15-seconds-9109033.html

    • 99 jacquelineoboomer
      February 5, 2014 at 4:16 pm

      Didn’t read the full story – but perhaps a civilian use by EMS personnel on our city streets, as well? Very interesting, as you say!

  34. February 5, 2014 at 3:01 pm

    This is my diary that I posted awhile back on DK, an early look at Christie’s penchant for pathological lying.

  35. 103 dotster3
    February 5, 2014 at 3:05 pm

  36. 105 Linda
    February 5, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    Automatic Data Processing released its monthly employment assessment Wednesday, estimating 175,000 new jobs were created by the private sector in January, 160,000 of them in the service sector. While construction rose by 25,000 jobs, manufacturing lost 12,000, according to ADP.

    The firm does not estimate job creation in the public sector. In addition to its January report, ADP revised its estimate for December from 238,000 to 227,000 new jobs. The government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated last month that just 74,000 new jobs were created in December in both the private and public sector. The consensus of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg earlier this week is that, on Friday, the BLS will report 181,000 new jobs were created in January. Many economists believe the bureau will also revise its December estimate sharply upward.

  37. 107 hopefruit2
    February 5, 2014 at 3:11 pm

  38. 108 Nena20409
    February 5, 2014 at 3:18 pm


    I didn’t dare to believe that even Pat Roberson would go this far?

    He implored fellow believers in God, “Let’s be real, let’s not make a joke of ourselves.” Robertson made it clear he still doesn’t believe in “so-called evolution,” but it doesn’t shake his faith one bit to have “progressive evolution” under the control of God.

  39. 111 Ladyhawke
    February 5, 2014 at 4:05 pm

    On jobs, conservatives are completely full of it



    Conservatives might have a small point about the labor market. But the real point about this mini-flap is that it reveals once again that their carping about jobs is transparently ridiculous.

    We are more than five years into a mass unemployment crisis that Republicans have utterly ignored except to attack the president and the Democrats. They have no policy proposals to increase employment at all, and have blocked every one of the Democrats’ job proposals. When it comes to jobs, they don’t have a leg to stand on.



    h/t Greg Sargent

  40. 113 Ladyhawke
    February 5, 2014 at 4:22 pm


    “Not a Matter of if, But When”


    It’s an inescapable irony that the biggest critic of the NSA is currently living in Russia; a country where every detail of your life can be sucked up without a court order and used for any number of purposes.

    The NSA requires the permission of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to conduct its business and metadata is in no way comparable to the mountain of data Russian authorities will be sucking up.



  41. 114 Linda
    February 5, 2014 at 4:28 pm

    MOSCOW (AP) — Several dozen railway cars carrying gas exploded into fireballs in Russia on Wednesday, suspending traffic on the Trans-Siberian Railway and prompting evacuations from nearby buildings, emergency officials said. No injuries were reported.

    The crash occurred at a railway station in Kirov, about 800 kilometers (some 500 miles) northeast of Moscow, when 32 railcars loaded with gas condensate derailed and caught fire.

    The inferno engulfed a large area around the station, forcing the evacuation of about 700 residents from several nearby apartment buildings, the Emergency Situations Ministry said.

    Several hundred emergency workers fought the blaze. An investigation into the derailment has been opened.


  42. 116 Gazelle
    February 5, 2014 at 4:31 pm

    [LOL! Good one! Cheers!]:

    A Scottish brewery has launched a ‘not for gays’ beer in protest at Vladimir Putin’s anti-gay laws, and have even sent a crate to the Russian leader himself.

    The limited-edition ‘Hello, My Name is Vladimir’ beer features a Warhol-esque impression of Vladimir Putin wearing make-up on its label and the satirical *not for gays small print across the bottom.

    BrewDog, the brewery responsible for creating the ‘protest beer’ included the following description on the labels: “Hello, my name is Vladimir. I am 100 per cent hetero and will pass laws to prove it.

    “Drinking me gives you energy, ignorance and dogmatism required to shoot a deer (with your top off) and pass internationally denounced, discriminatory legislation (top optional) before you’ve even had your caviar breakfast.”

    More here: http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-and-drink/news/vladimir-putin-not-for-gays-protest-beer-launched-by-scottish-brewery-brewdog-9108835.html

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