Tuesday, July 02, 2013

NSA leaker Edward Snowden blasts Obama, surfaces in statements

NSA surveillance program leaker Edward Snowden broke his silence on Monday, issuing a short, six-paragraph statement on whistleblower website Wikileaks.

In the missive, Snowden revealed his reasons for leaving Hong Kong, although they were already known -- his freedom was at risk in Hong Kong. He also blasted U.S. President Barack Obama for "wheeling and dealing" in an attempt to get Snowden extradited, despite his statements of last Thursday (June 27).

Snowden's Wikileaks post reads as follows:
Monday July 1, 21:40 UTC

One week ago I left Hong Kong after it became clear that my freedom and safety were under threat for revealing the truth. My continued liberty has been owed to the efforts of friends new and old, family, and others who I have never met and probably never will. I trusted them with my life and they returned that trust with a faith in me for which I will always be thankful.

On Thursday, President Obama declared before the world that he would not permit any diplomatic "wheeling and dealing" over my case. Yet now it is being reported that after promising not to do so, the President ordered his Vice President to pressure the leaders of nations from which I have requested protection to deny my asylum petitions.

This kind of deception from a world leader is not justice, and neither is the extralegal penalty of exile. These are the old, bad tools of political aggression. Their purpose is to frighten, not me, but those who would come after me.

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 U.S. 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 exercising a basic right. A right that belongs to everybody. The right to seek asylum.

In the end the Obama administration is not afraid of whistleblowers like me, Bradley Manning or Thomas Drake. We are stateless, imprisoned, or powerless. No, the Obama administration is afraid of you. It is afraid of an informed, angry public demanding the constitutional government it was promised — and it should be.

I am unbowed in my convictions and impressed at the efforts taken by so many.

Edward Joseph Snowden

Monday 1st July 2013
In addition, a letter sent from Snowden to Ecuador has surfaced. The Spanish-language letter, sent to Rafael Correa, the president of one of the countries that the whistleblower has applied to for asylum, said, in part, that:
I remain free and able to publish information that serves the public interest.

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.
Snowden is believed to be "residing" in the transit area of a Moscow airport -- where he is technically neither in nor out of the country.

In early June, Snowden leaked information on two NSA surveillance programs to The Guardian and the Washington Post. From a high level, one of them reportedly monitors Internet traffic, while the second monitors information about phone calls, though not the calls themselves.

Journalist Glenn Greenwald, who wrote The Guardian's article, promised more to come.

On Tuesday, it was reported that India had turned down Snowden's request for asylum.

Among the other countries he has made the request to are: Austria, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Cuba, Finland, France, Germany, India, Italy, Ireland, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Norway, Poland, Spain, Swiss Confederation, Venezuela and the aforementioned Ecuador.

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