U.S. To Russia: We Won’t Kill Or Torture Snowden

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The U.S. has pledged not to seek the death penalty for NSA-whistleblower Edward Snowden. To persuade the Minister of Justice to give up Snowden, it appears that Eric Holder had to ironically assure Russian authorities that it will respect human rights.

“The United States would not seek the death penalty for Mr. Snowden should he return to the United States,” he wrote. “We believe these assurances eliminate these asserted grounds for Mr. Snowden’s claim that he should be treated as a refugee or granted asylum, temporary or otherwise.”

For good measure, he wrote that “Mr. Snowden will not be tortured. Torture is unlawful in the United States.”

Snowden is currently holed up in Moscow Airport, seeking asylum from the United States.

U.S. State Department employees tell me that the NSA spying affair is seriously harming their ability to negotiate human rights issues with authoritarian governments around the world. Apparently, the perception of hypocrisy does not put the U.S. in a compelling position.

The Essential: Anti-NSA Debate In Congress, Manning Trial Closes, Navy’s Kinect Sexual Assault Solution, FOD for Obamacare

Anti-NSA Debate [TechCrunch]

–Watch Congress debate whether the NSA’s dragnet spying operation should be defunded

Manning Trial Closes [TechCrunch]

–The trial of Wikileaks Source Pfc. Bradley Manning ended yesterday
–Prosecutors argued that Manning leaked information out of lust for fame
–Manning faces life in prison for “aiding the enemy”

Using Kinect To Stop Sexual Assaults [Verge]

–The military awarded a contract to build a video game anti-rape simulator
–”The system will not use pre-programmed branching scenarios to determine the responses for the avatar. It will instead animate a human agent using a [Kinect] interface”

Funny Or Die Is Making A Pro-Obama Care Video [Mother Jones]

–Viral sketch comedy startup, Funny or Die, met with celebrities at the White House to design a pro-Obamacare video, aimed at getting young people to sign up for insurance.

Miscellaneous Funny: