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Imaginary Mediation: Snowden to Return, Face the Music!

“One cannot control one’s dreams, that’s why they are dreams.”

I had a dream last night, surely stimulated by Brian Williams’ interview of Edward Snowden on NBC. My dream was that I had just mediated agreement between Snowden and the US Government for Snowden to come home and, in the words of Secretary of State Kerry, “face the music.”

Further, while mediation is commonly confidential, by joint agreement both Snowden and the US Government agreed to not only have their mediation be fully transparent and non-confidential, but they also agreed to have me as mediator provide a summary of their discussions, to be approved by each side, so that, through this transparency and authenticity, both the US Government and Snowden can properly have their positive intentions and ultimate common goals achieved. This is that summary, now approved by the US Government and Edward Snowden.*

Memorandum of Understanding
US Government and Edward Snowden – May 29, 2014

1. Background

I met with US government officials and Snowden exclusively through online methods. We utilized a combination of encrypted email, secure file upload and download (for settlement drafts), instant messaging, cell phones, web resources, skype, webex, you name it, any and all online communicational mechanisms and modalities were in play. Some were secure, some not. It was assumed that this group especially was fully aware of any and all security risks, or maybe they just assumed that the NSA, Russians and Chinese already knew everything anyway. Regardless, the accelerating momentum toward agreement, and early commitment to downstream transparency for these discussions, led to a rather remarkable development of a mediated agreement in less than an hour.*

Here is the mediator’s summary of agreements reached between the US Government and Snowden:

2. Summary of Agreement

a. Legal Counsel

Both the US Government and Snowden agree to temporarily forego attorneys. While attorneys are often involved in mediation discussions, and may in this matter for purposes of implementation, both sides agree that, in the short term and as a practical matter, attorneys really bring little to the table that is helpful in this matter at this time. All agree to be guided by commonsense and a desire for a best national and global future. The parties’ recognize that “legal matters” here are relatively minor compared to the magnitude of these issues in a historic context and in the global court of public opinion.

All thus agreed that, for purposes of expediency and to demonstrate trust going forward, this readable email from the mediator will suffice for drafting purposes. Neither side wants the delay, cost or risk of presently engaging legal counsel. All feel that the resolutions here expressed should not suffer the dilution and obfuscation that commonly takes place when hungry lawyers get involved.

b. Substantive Agreements

The parties agreed as follows:

1. Both sides acknowledge and honor the positive intent of one another in ultimately seeking to secure a best America and a best US Government going forward.

2. Snowden agrees to specifically identify for the U.S. Government each and every document and file provided to the three journalists and to anyone else.

3. Further, Snowden will encourage the journalists to specifically identify each and every release of such provided information.

4. While the US Government is not able to presently acknowledge Snowden as a “patriot,” it does agree to reconsider this possibility one year from the date of this agreement and annually thereafter until Snowden may be so designated and remembered.

5. Snowden will return to the US at his reasonable convenience when he is able to complete his discount airline and hotel arrangements Snowden will be accompanied by 2 US Government agents on all flights and at all hotels and Snowden will also make these governmental travel arrangements (to be reimbursed), unless the government agents find an even better deal, in which case they will immediately alert Snowden.

6. Upon return, Snowden and a designated governmental official will hold a joint news conference wherein they agree to each have up to 30 minutes to share their thoughts uninterrupted and to then take up to 30 minutes of questions from the press.

7. Snowden will be charged with the severe charges currently pending, and the US Government will also have up to 10 minutes for any and all desired photo opps during Snowden’s arraignment. Snowden’s plea deal (below) will, however, be signed by the parties prior to their jointly descending from the plane.

8. Snowden’s plea deal is that he apologizes in any and all ways desired by the US Government for a period of one week following his return. He will also be given probation for one year and an assignment of community service to assist in the networking of all US schools and academic institutions. During this year, Snowden will also serve as a “consultant on call” for the US Government generally, anytime they run into really big technical snafus, such as the Obamacare website, VA, you name it.

9. Further, after his one year probation, Snowden will be free to write any book, make any movie, do anything he wants to make money on his global stature, understanding that half of the net proceeds will be paid to the US Government to help with the US debt.

10. Snowden will face and be able to select his music of choice throughout his travels, upon his return and indefinitely into the future.

11. The parties further agree to enter the future so much wiser and to mutually support one another seeking to best protect and further the interests of the United States of America in an ever more dangerous world.

It is so agreed this 29th day of May 2014

Edward Snowden

US Government
by and through Barack Obama, President

* Remember, just a dream.


Anony Mous

By Anonymous While generally requires the identification of authors, for this article, we are granting a rare exception.  Occasionally, there are topics and times where the ability to publish anonymously valuably contributes to our discussion of mediation applied to even the most controversial issues of the day. MORE >

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