Monday, July 1, 2013

Edward Snowden Issues Statement Via WikiLeaks

Obama admin 'using citizenship as a weapon:' Snowden makes Moscow statement

Published time: July 01, 2013 22:52
Reuters / Bobby Yip
Reuters / Bobby Yip
NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden released a statement Monday night from Moscow saying he is “impressed at the efforts taken by so many” to keep him out of the hands of United States law enforcement as he continues to seek political asylum.

The former National Security Agency contractor who leaked documents detailing widespread domestic and foreign surveillance said he is disturbed by what he sees as the Obama administration’s use of international intimidation tactics. 

On Thursday, President Obama declared before the world that he would not permit any diplomatic ‘wheeling and dealing’ over my case,” Snowden wrote. “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.”

Snowden highlighted how Washington's effort to bring him home for prosecution seemed to reflect a new ideology that portrays citizenship as a kind of extrajudicial blunt weapon.

For decades the United States of America [has] been one of the strongest defenders of the human right to seek asylum,” Snowden wrote. “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 in 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.” 

The statement is referring to a Friday phone call between US Vice President Joe Biden and Rafael Correa, the president of Ecuador, in which Biden asked Correa to reject Snowden’s request for political asylum. Correa said in a speech Saturday that Snowden “will have to assume his own responsibilities” for his actions, but called the case an example of US “double standards” after an American court rejected an Ecuadorian extradition request in 2012.

The statement, posted to the WikiLeaks website, is the second time the whistleblower has communicated to the public since arriving in Moscow from Hong Kong on Sunday, June 23. The first time came the same day in the form of a letter thanking Ecuadorian lawmakers for considering his request for political asylum and for helping him travel to Russia.

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,” part of that text read, according to a translation quoted by Reuters.

The fugitive whistleblower went on to thank his supporters and encourage the public to form its own opinion on his case and on the trial of Bradley Manning, the US soldier who faces life in prison for leaking US military information to WikiLeaks in 2010.

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,” the statement reads.