New Cold War Over Snowden? What About One Over Human Rights?

photo of Russian President Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin entry in the ‘Dictators’ of the World Calendar

The corporate media have been obsessed with the adventures of NSA whistle blower Edward Snowden. Not about what he publicized – the overbroad spying on Americans in the name of ‘security’ – but where he is going and where he is located. Now that Snowden has been granted temporary asylum in Russia, the media have been speculating how this will damage US – Russia relations. Of course they have no such concerns over Russia’s suspect human rights record.

Russia has given NSA secrets leaker Edward Snowden asylum for one year. Now what?

The White House has a broad array of potential diplomatic tools to craft a response — but it’s not clear which ones would send a clear message of disapproval to Russian President Vladimir Putin while not endangering areas of rare but crucial Russo-U.S. cooperation.

With the White House announcement on Thursday that President Barack Obama might scrap a summit next month with Putin over the asylum decision, how likely is a further escalation of tensions?

Simply put, are we heading into a new Cold War?

Will the Snowden chill start a new Cold War?

The article talks about other political issues but doesn’t mention any of the human rights issues that the US government tends to gloss over since Russian President Vladimir Putin returned Russia to a nouveau-dictatorial state (all the trappings of the old Soviet Union without the failed economics).

Russia will enforce a new law cracking down on gay rights activism when it hosts international athletes and fans during the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, the country’s sports minister said Thursday, appearing to contradict assurances to the contrary from the International Olympic Committee.

Russia’s contentious law was signed by President Vladimir Putin in late June, imposing fines on individuals accused of spreading “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations” to minors, and even proposing penalties for those who express these views online or in the news media. Gay pride rallies also are banned.

“An athlete of nontraditional sexual orientation isn’t banned from coming to Sochi,” Vitaly Mutko said in an interview with R-Sport, the sports newswire of state news agency RIA Novosti. “But if he goes out into the streets and starts to propagandize, then of course he will be held accountable.”

Mutko emphasized that the law wasn’t designed to punish anyone for being gay or lesbian. But like the Russian lawmakers who authored the bill, Mutko said athletes would be punished only for propaganda, a word that remains ambiguous under the new law.

Russia will enforce anti-gay law during Olympics

Not since the 1936 Berlin summer games have we seen a collective “Meh..” about the human rights violations of a host country. Anti-gay laws aren’t the only human rights issue with Russia. Throwing members of Pussy Riot in prison for their protest, enacting a harsh anti-blasphemy law, and passing other laws against dissent seem to be the norm in the “new” Russia.

Of course none of that has the media speculating if there is a new Cold War, no, only things that are bad for business, like revealing a spying program, causes them to ask about a new cold war in US-Russia relations.