| Edward Snowden: Obama guilty of deceit over extradition!

Edward Snowden: Obama guilty of deceit over extradition ~

Edward Snowden

In the statement released by WikiLeaks, Snowden claimed the US president had employed the ‘old, bad tools of political aggression’. Photograph: Reuters/The Guardian

Edward Snowden has accused Barack Obama of deception for promising in public to avoid diplomatic “wheeling and dealing” over his extradition, while privately pressuring countries to refuse his requests for asylum.

Snowden, the surveillance whistleblower who is thought to be trapped in the legal limbo of a transit zone at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport, used his first public comments since fleeing Hong Kong to attack the US for revoking his passport. He also accused his country of bullying nations that might grant him asylum.

“On Thursday, President Obama declared before the world that he would not permit any diplomatic ‘wheeling and dealing’ over my case,” Snowden said in a statement released by WikiLeaks.

“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.”

Snowden’s increasingly desperate predicament became further apparent on Monday night with the leak of a letter he had written to Ecuador praising its “bravery” and expressing “deep respect and sincere thanks” for considering his request for political asylum.

But the change in mood in Quito, already apparent at the end of last week, was underlined by an interview Rafael Correa, the president, gave to the Guardian on Monday in which he insisted Ecuador will not now help Snowden leave Moscow and never intended to facilitate his attempted flight to South America.

Correa blamed earlier signs of encouragement on a misunderstanding by its London embassy.

“That we are responsible for getting him to Ecuador? It’s not logical. The country that has to give him a safe conduct document is Russia,” Correa said at the presidential palace in Quito. Correa said his government did not intentionally help Snowden travel from Hong Kong to Moscow with a temporary travel pass. “It was a mistake on our part.”

In his statement through WikiLeaks, which has been assisting him since he left Hong Kong on 10 June, Snowden contrasted the current US approach to his extradition with its previous support of political dissidents in other countries.

“For decades the United States of America has been one of the strongest defenders of the human right to seek asylum,” he said. “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.”

Snowden also accused the Obama administration of “using citizenship as a weapon”, which has apparently left him unable to leave the airport in Moscow.

“Although I am convicted of nothing, [the US] has unilaterally revoked my passport, leaving me a stateless person,” he said. “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.”

Moscow confirmed earlier on Monday that Snowden had applied for political asylum in Russia. The LA Times said Snowden had made similar applications to a total of 15 countries.

The former NSA contractor struck a defiant tone on Monday night. “In the end, the Obama administration is not afraid of whistleblowers like me, Bradley Manning or Thomas Drake,” he said. “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.”

His statement also came shortly after one of Obama’s top intelligence officials, US director of national intelligence, James Clapper, was forced to apologise to Congress</a> for “erroneous” claims that the US did not collect data on its own citizens.

Snowden paid tribute to those who had helped him force such disclosures.

“One week ago I left Hong Kong after it became clear that my freedom and safety were under threat for revealing the truth,” he said.

“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.”

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| Rafael Correa: we helped Snowden by mistake!

Rafael Correa: we helped Snowden by mistake ~

  •  in Quitoguardian.co.uk.

    Ecuador’s president reveals travel pass was granted ‘without authorisation’ and says whistleblower is now Russia’s problem.

    Rafael Correa Ecuador president Edward Snowden

    Ecuador’s president Rafael Correa said Snowden ‘must be on Ecuadorean territory’ to make an asylum request. Photograph: Martin Mejia/AP

    Ecuador is not considering Edward Snowden‘s asylum request and never intended to facilitate his flight from Hong Kong, president Rafael Correa said as the whistleblower made a personal plea to Quito for his case to be heard.

    Snowden was Russia’s responsibility and would have to reach Ecuadorean territory before the country would consider any asylum request, the president said in an interview on Monday.

    “Are we responsible for getting him to Ecuador? It’s not logical. The country that has to give him a safe conduct document is Russia.”

    The president, speaking to the Guardian at the presidential palace in Quito, said his government did not intentionally help Snowden travel from Hong Kong to Moscow with a temporary travel pass. “It was a mistake on our part,” he added.

    Asked if he thought the former NSA contractor would ever make it to Quito, he replied: “Mr Snowden’s situation is very complicated, but in this moment he is in Russian territory and these are decisions for the Russian authorities.”

    Asked if he would like to meet him, he said: “Not particularly. He’s a very complicated person. Strictly speaking, Mr Snowden spied for some time.”

    The comments clashed with expressions of gratitude the 30-year-old fugitive issued hours later, before Correa’s views had been published.

    “I must express my deep respect for your principles and sincere thanks for your government’s action in considering my request for political asylum,” said a letter, in Spanish and attributed to Snowden.

    “There are few world leaders who would risk standing for the human rights of an individual against the most powerful government on earth, and the bravery of Ecuador and its people is an example to the world.”

    Snowden contrasted the silence of governments afraid of US retaliation with Ecuador’s help in his flight to Moscow on 22 June. A temporary Ecuadorean travel document substituted for his cancelled US passport.

    “The decisive action of your consul in London, Fidel Narvaez, guaranteed my rights would be protected upon departing Hong Kong – I could never have risked travel without that. Now, as a result, and through the continued support of your government, I remain free and able to publish information that serves the public interest.”

    The letter will boost Ecuador’s reputation with Snowden’s supporters but sat awkwardly with the president’s attempt to distance Quito from the saga. Correa said Quito respected the right of asylum and appreciated Snowden exposing the extent of US spying, but would not consider an asylum request unless he made it to an Ecuadorean embassy or the country itself – a remote possibility while he remains reportedly marooned in Sheremetyevo airport‘s transit lounge. “He must be on Ecuadorean territory,” the president said.

    Correa said his government had not, and would not, give Snowden an authorised travel document to extract himself from the airport. “The right of asylum request is one thing but helping someone travel from one country to another — Ecuador has never done this. ”

    He said the temporary travel document issued by his London consul on 22 June – and publicly disowned five days later — was a blunder.

    “It was a mistake on our part. Look, this crisis hit us in a very vulnerable moment. Our foreign minister was touring Asia. Our deputy foreign minister was in the Czech Republic. Our US ambassador was in Italy.”

    Narvaez and the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has sheltered at Ecuador’s London embassy for the past year to escape extradition, took matters into their own hands because they feared Snowden risked capture, Correa said.

    “The consul, in his desperation, probably he couldn’t reach the foreign minister … and he issued a safe conduct document without validity, without authorisation, without us even knowing.”

    Correa said the consul was a “cultured” man and cited the example of Ecuadorean diplomats in Czechoslovakia giving Jews visas in defiance of their foreign ministry during the second world war.

    “Look, he [Assange] is in the embassy, he’s a friend of the consul, and he calls him at four in the morning to say they are going to capture Snowden. The [consul] is desperate – ‘how are we going to save the life of this man?’ – and does it.

    “So I told him: OK, if you think you did the right thing, I respect your decision, but you could not give, without authorisation, that safe conduct pass. It was completely invalid, and he will have to accept the consequences.”

    Narvaez would be “sanctioned”, the president said, without elaborating.

    Some Ecuadorean diplomats have complained that Assange appeared to usurp Quito but the president said there was no rupture. “Mr Assange continues to enjoy our total respect and is under the protection of the Ecuadorean state.”

    Correa, a standard bearer for the left in Latin America, has joined European and other Latin Americans leaders in denouncing US espionage.

    However he softened his tone over the weekend and praised vice-president Joe Biden for a gracious phone call, saying he would consider Washington’s request to refuse any asylum claim from Snowden while retaining Ecuador’s sovereignty.

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| Edward Snowden’s letter to the president of Ecuador – full text!

Edward Snowden’s letter to the president of Ecuador – full text ~

  • Press Assocation, guardian.co.uk.

    The NSA whistleblower, who is currently in Moscow, has written to Rafael Correa regarding his request for political asylum.
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    Text of a letter by Edward Snowden to the President of EcuadorRafael Correa. Written in Spanish; obtained and translated by the Press Association, London.
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    “There are few world leaders who would risk standing for the human rights of an individual against the most powerful government on earth, and the bravery of Ecuador and its people is an example to the world.

    I must express my deep respect for your principles and sincere thanks for your government’s action in considering my request for political asylum.

    The government of the United States of America has built the world’s largest system of surveillance. This global system affects every human life touched by technology; recording, analysing, and passing secret judgment over each member of the international public.

    It is a grave violation of our universal human rights when a political system perpetuates automatic, pervasive and unwarranted spying against innocent people.

    In accordance with this belief, I revealed this programme to my country and the world. 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.

    As I face this persecution, there has been silence from governments afraid of the United States government and their threats. Ecuador however, rose to stand and defend the human right to seek asylum.

    The decisive action of your consul in London, Fidel Narvaez, guaranteed my rights would be protected upon departing Hong Kong – I could never have risked travel without that. Now, as a result, and through the continued support of your government, 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 realise a contribution to the common good, the world will have the principles of Ecuador to thank.

    Please accept my gratitude on behalf of your government and the people of the Republic of Ecuador, as well as my great personal admiration of your commitment to doing what is right rather than what is rewarding.”

    Edward Joseph Snowden.
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| Ecuador Caught in Lie Over Snowden “Safe Pass!”

Ecuador Caught in Lie Over Snowden “Safe Pass” ~ ADAM WEINSTEIN, ABC NEWS.

A “safe pass” allowing NSA leaker Edward Snowden’s travel to Ecuador to seek political asylum was reportedly reviewed and approved by Ecuadorian President Rafael Correaaccording to Univision news. This is after Correa’s government distanced itself from the Snowden affair today and declared the pass invalid.

The pass, a copy of which was obtained Wednesday by Univision, is dated June 22 and asks authorities in other nations to allow Snowden safe passage to Ecuador as a political refugee. That’s also the date that U.S. officials revoked Snowden’s American passport, effectively halting his international travel. He is believed to be in hiding at Moscow’s airport.

In an ironic twist, Univision used metadata attached to an electronic copy of the safe pass to verify that it was composed at the work computer of Javier Mendoza, the Ecuadorian deputy consul in London (see photo above). Mendoza has acted as an intermediary for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who is wanted in Sweden in connection with sexual assault allegations, but maintains that U.S. authorities are hunting him for Wikileaks’ political activities.

Metadata also showed that the Snowden pass was last edited, for 48 minutes, by the consul in London, Fidel Narvaez.

Ecuadorian Press Secretary Betty Tola did not directly address the pass’ authenticity but told Univision today that “any document in this regard is not valid and is the sole responsibility of the person who has issued [it],” suggesting that the London consulate might have acted alone in issuing it.

That does not appear to be the case, however. According to communications obtained by Univision, Narvaez wrote the pass at President Correa’s request, and the consul recounted speaking directly with the president about the “unique circumstances” of Snowden’s case.

After the pass was revealed publicly, sources tell Univision, Correa instructed his staff to deny any role in its creation. “The official position is that the Ecuadorian government has NOT authorized any pass for anybody,” those instructions read. “Any document that exists about has no validity.”

It is unclear why Correa’s government would deny a role in assisting Snowden. U.S. authorities have charged the former IT worker with espionage for his role in leaking top-secret documents about American domestic surveillance programs. While they have signaled that countries harboring Snowden could face harsh trade consequences, Ecuador has remained cavalier about the U.S. threat.

In a press conference Thursday with Tola, Ecuadorian Communications Minister Fernando Alverado said the nation didn’t want America’s trade dollars.

In fact, he said, Ecuador was willing to offer the U.S. $23 million a year “in order to provide training in human rights and help avoid attacks on individual privacy.”

PHOTO:  Electronic metadata on the Snowden safe pass shows it originated at the computer of the Ecuadorian deputy consul in London.

Electronic metadata on the Snowden safe pass shows it originated at the computer of the Ecuadorian deputy consul in London. (UNIVISION)
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