“Tell me who your friends are and I will tell you who you are.” Like all proverbs, this one has its limits, and is not, in any case, an infallible guide. Who does not have, in his circle of friendly acquaintances, someone whose wisdom and/or probity is open to question ?
But with all that, the collection of Edward Snowden admirers is striking. Snowden, it will be remembered, is a former employee of the US National Scurity Agency who stole US secret documents and took them to his current residence in Moscow, where he is a fugitive from US law enforcement.
I have previously reported on the politics of Glenn Greenwald, the London Guardian columnist who is largely responsible for much of Snowden’s publicity in the West. (And in the same place I reported on the mutual admiration between Glenn Greenwald and Noam Chomsky.) Today I wish to point primarily to the extraordinary approbation of Snowden by the neo-Nazis in Germany.
The most conspicuous German supporter of Snowden is not a neo-Nazi but the Green Party Bundestag deputy Christian Ströbele. Ströbele travelled to Moscow to interview Snowden and praises him as one of his heroes. Ströbele, in the far left wing of his party, is also known as the lawyer for the terrorist RAF Baader-Meinhof gang, Visiting Israel in 1991, Ströbele declared in an interview that the Iraqi Scuds that were employed against Israel at the time were thoroughly justified in view of Israel’s repressive policies. And last year, Herr Ströbele demanded that the German prohibition against brother-sister marriage be revoked for the sake of much needed sexual freedom.
Snowden no doubt appreciates friends like Ströbele. But does he also appreciate the admiration and friendship of Chairman Holger Apfel of the neo-Nazi National Democrat Party (NPD) ?
Last month Apfel created a disturbance in the legislature of Saxony in which he represents his party. He interrupted proceedings by demanding that Germany give asylum to his hero, Edward Snowden, in line with the NPD position that the US, together with Israel, represents an absolute evil, and that, ergo, anything that hurts the US deserves his, Apfel’s, enthusiastic support. When the chairman of the chamber pointed out that asylum is a federal and not a provincial matter, and that Apfel’s motion is therefore out of order in the provincial legislature, Apfel refused to yield the floor and had to be banned from the legislature for the session. (He had previously been banned from the legislature on a number of occasions for making anti-Semitic statements on the house floor.) For those who understand German, here is a report with video of Apfel’s tantrum in the Saxon legislature.
As far as I know, neither Snowden nor Greenwald has commented on these efforts by their German supporters. Nor has Mr. Pierre Omidyar, Greenwald’s billionaire sponsor.