Yesterdat, Edward Snowden spoke for himself for the first time since being holed up in a Moscow airport over a week ago.
In a statement posted Monday afternoon on WikiLeaks’ website, he wrote that President Barack Obama’s attempt to pressure Ecuador and other states that may be interested in harboring the famed NSA leaker constituted “deception,” adding that they were “old, bad tools of political aggression.”
For decades the United States of America has been one of the strongest defenders of the human right to seek asylum. Sadly, this right, laid out and voted for by the US in Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is now being rejected by the current government of my country. The Obama administration has now adopted the strategy of using citizenship as a weapon. Although I am convicted of nothing, it has unilaterally revoked my passport, leaving me a stateless person. Without any judicial order, the administration now seeks to stop me from exercising a basic right. A right that belongs to everybody. The right to seek asylum.
UPDATE 10:36pm CT: WikiLeaks has now published a second statement on Monday evening, saying that Snowden has also applied for asylum in a number of other nations besides Ecuador and Iceland, including Austria, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Cuba, Finland, France, Germany, India, Italy, Ireland, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, Norway, Poland, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, and Venezuela.
Ecuador’s president, Rafael Correa, recently told The Guardian that helping Snowden travel from Hong Kong to Moscow was wrong. “It was a mistake on our part,” he admitted. Correa added that Snowden’s potential asylum would only be considered if he reached the country or an official Ecuadorian embassy.
In addition to his statement, there was more Snowden news on Monday afternoon. Glenn Greenwald, The Guardian journalist who initially broke the story last month, wrote on Twitter that “Snowden’s leak is basically done. It’s newspapers—not Snowden—deciding what gets disclosed and in what sequence.”
Later, Greenwald elaborated using TwitLonger (a tweet extension service):
I didn’t say Snowden couldn’t leak more documents if he wanted to. Obviously, he can do so if he’s inclined. That’s obvious.
What I said is that he’s not doling out documents to us in drips and drabs. He gave us all the documents he provided to us weeks ago. That process is done. And we—not he—are the one deciding which of those gets published, which don’t, and in what order.
Snowden: “I remain dedicated to the fight for justice”
Earlier in the day, the Los Angeles Times reported that Snowden has applied for asylum in 15 countries according to a Russian official. Many other media outlets, citing Russian state media, have reported that one of those countries is Russia itself.
“It was a desperate measure on his part after Ecuador disavowed his political protection credentials,” said the Russian official, speaking on the condition of anonymity. ”In the document Snowden reiterated once again that he is not a traitor and explained his actions only by a desire to open the world’s eyes on the flagrant violations by US special services not only of American citizens but also citizens of European Union including their NATO allies.”
Reuters then published excerpts from an undated Spanish-language letter from Snowden to Correa.
“I remain free and able to publish information that serves the public interest,” Snowden wrote.
“No matter how many more days my life contains, I remain dedicated to the fight for justice in this unequal world. If any of those days ahead realize a contribution to the common good, the world will have the principles of Ecuador to thank.”
“While the public has cried out support of my shining a light on this secret system of injustice, the Government of the United States of America responded with an extrajudicial man-hunt costing me my family, my freedom to travel, and my right to live peacefully without fear of illegal aggression.”
Bush: “One of the certainties was that civil liberties were guaranteed”
The day’s other eye-catching quotes came from a former US president. For his part, former President George W. Bush said that he was proud of setting up PRISM and other related surveillance programs.
“I put that program in place to protect the country,” he told CNN from Zambia, where he is currently traveling. “One of the certainties was that civil liberties were guaranteed.”
However, Bush refrained from criticizing Obama’s actions.
“I don’t think it does any good,” he added. “It’s a hard job. He’s got plenty on his agenda. It’s difficult. A former president doesn’t need to make it any harder. Other presidents have taken different decisions; that’s mine.”
Thank you, TiA