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  • Dec 22, 2014
  • Updated: 2:21am
Edward Snowden
NewsWorld
SECURITY

Whistle-blower Snowden seeks asylum in China, among other nations, says Wikileaks

Fugitive whistle-blower also releases a statement, criticising the US and saying he remains 'unbowed' in his convictions

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 02 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 02 July, 2013, 11:06am
 

Former US spy agency contractor Edward Snowden broke his silence on Monday for the first time since fleeing to Moscow over a week ago, blasting the Obama administration and saying he remains free to make new disclosures about US spying activity.

Snowden, who faces espionage charges in the United States and believed to be staying in a transit area at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport, surfaced with a letter to the Ecuadorean government and in a statement released through anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks, which has taken up his cause.

In the WikiLeaks statement he accused the Obama administration of deception in a campaign to prevent him from finding political asylum and of “leaving me a stateless person” by revoking his US passport.

WikiLeaks also disclosed on Monday that Snowden had prepared requests for asylum in countries including Russia, Austria, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Cuba, Finland, France, Germany, India, Italy, Ireland, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, Norway, Poland, Spain, Switzerland and Venezuela.

No matter how many more days my life contains, I remain dedicated to the fight for justice in this unequal world
Edward Snowden

Snowden, 30, had not been heard from in the eight days since he flew to Moscow from Hong Kong, where he had first taken refuge after fleeing Hawaii.

Snowden has sought asylum in Ecuador and in an undated letter sent to Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa, said the United States was illegally persecuting him for revealing its electronic surveillance programme, Prism, but made it clear he did not intend to be muzzled.

“I remain free and able to publish information that serves the public interest,” Snowden, who had been a contract employee for the US National Security Agency, said in the letter.

“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.”

Snowden said the US government was persecuting him.

“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 wrote.

In his WikiLeaks statement, Snowden lashed out at US President Barack Obama and Vice-President Joe Biden for pressing Ecuador to turn him away.

“This kind of deception from a world leader is not justice, and neither is the extralegal penalty of exile,” he said.

“Without any judicial order, the administration now seeks to stop me exercising a basic right,” Snowden said. “A right that belongs to everybody. The right to seek asylum ... Their purpose is to frighten, not me, but those who would come after me.”

US Justice Department spokeswoman Nanda Chitre rejected Snowden’s claim that he was marooned “since he is still a United States citizen and his country is willing to take him back.”

“As the State Department has already said, the US government is prepared to issue individuals wanted on felony charges a one entry travel document to return home,” she said.

Video: Snowden can stay in Russia if he stops US leaks: Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Snowden could stay in Russia on one condition.

“He must stop his work aimed at harming our American partners, as strange as that sounds coming from my lips,” he told reporters after a gas exporters’ conference in Moscow.

Putin said he suspected that Snowden would continue leaking information because “he feels himself to be a human rights activist.”

“So he must choose a country of destination and go there,” he said, speaking before the asylum request to Russia was reported. “Unfortunately, I don’t know when this will happen.”

Putin said Russia was not working with Snowden and had no intention of handing Snowden over to the United States.

“Russia has never given up anyone to anybody and does not plan to. And nobody ever gave anyone up to us,” Putin said.

Correa said on Sunday that Snowden’s fate was in Russia’s hands because Ecuador could not consider the plea until he reached Ecuador or one of its embassies.

Shortly after Snowden fled the United States to Hong Kong in May, and long before he arrived in Russia, Putin suggested the surveillance methods he revealed were justified in fighting terrorism, if carried out lawfully.

Although Russia has sometimes exchanged captured spies with the United States, Putin suggested on Monday that this was not on the cards for Snowden. “As for Mr. Snowden, he is not our agent and he is not working with us,” Putin said.

Obama, at a news conference in Tanzania, repeated that the United States was working through law enforcement channels to prod Russia to extradite Snowden.

Obama said there had been “high-level discussions with the Russians about trying to find a solution to the problem.”

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This article is now closed to comments

hard times !
now it is learnt that the president of Venezuela is visiting Moscow.He might bring along our leaker-hero,Mr.Snowden from the transit zone of the airport when he leaves Russia on Tuesday (Moscow time).Then Snowden can go to S.America safely since the President's plane won't be shot down or even forced to land in an America's air-base or its notorious prison-camp on Cuba. Right ?
req
I heard venezuela wins a lot of those miss world competitions. But I'd be inclined towards Russia myself.
KwunTongBypass
Alert! President Obama has just called for an urgent meeting of all NSA key people to investigate the hacking of one e-mail box belonging to a certain John Adams, and to make sure they do not do this to another guy currently calling himself “on Russian soil !” – but changing his name about three times per day (what is he hiding??), both allegedly from Hong Kong – the global beacon of free speech and democracy!
Man, are you guys full of yourselves!!
hard times !
Maybe I am luckier than you,it looks I am not yet hacked in by the NSA.May God blesses you.amen.
hard times !
Russian's president Putin had earlier refused to hand over Snowden to the Big Brother---America and emphasized there is no extradition treaty signed between the two powers.Snowden is a free man in the transit zone of the airport in Moscow.If he promises not to leak any more secrets which might damage the US,he will be allowed to stay in Russia (as a political refugee maybe).But Snowden withdrew his application for an asylum in Russia since his intention was to continue the leakings of the top-secrets of the NSA of America to let the whole world fully understand the nasty acts committed by America------to seek justice in this unfair world.Anyway,in the end,probably he will be admitted by Venezuela or even Bolivia in S.America which are both anti-America nations who dare to stand up against this Big Brother. So did our tiny Hong Kong on 23rd June when we allowed him to leave for Moscow though we were told by the Big Brother to have him provisionally arrested but our Commissioner of Police openly refused and our Secretary for Justice,Mr.Yuen did not follow the instructions of the DOJ of America to extradict Snowden but instead asking for more information so as to tackle the issue.
hard times !
Maybe our whistle-blower,Snowden has to end up in an embassy of a certain country in Moscow or just committing suicide (finishes himself in a glorious way) instead of being caught by the CIAs or returns to the States for a 'fair' trial and jailed plus tortured to death ! Now even Ecuador's president said that his government had never considered granting him a political asylum.Now only 16 countries remain for him to take shelter.How miserable he looks.May God blesses our people's hero ! amen.
hard times !
Snowden has cancelled his request for a political asylum from the Russian authorities which yesterday stated that there was a pre-condition----he can't expose any more secrets of Big Brother's cybersurveillance activities once he is allowed politcal asylum there.Of course,our leaker-hero can hardly accept that condition.It came as no surprise that his request was withdrawn.Now he still has 18 countries in hand to seek a safe shelter instead of returning home to be 'fairly' tried and jailed or executed for treason !
hard times !
This so-called KwunTongBypass should have his brain examined and checked if it has gone wrong and be sent to hospital.Both John Adams and another guy named 'on Russian soil' are both supporters of justice and cybersecurity.This KTB has no better thing to do except spreading false news or so-called alert. No urgent meeting is called but only a warrant to have this nasty guy 'KwunTongPass' caught and duly punished.His nasty mouth should be cleansed thoroughly to make sure that he won't utter any nonsense in the future ! ha ! ha !
John Adams
Mmmmm ... seems the NSA was indeed snooping on me.
My hotmail has gone back to normal speed within 2 hours of posting that comment at 6.:13 AM.
Never experienced a hotmail slowdown like this before until the past few days of Snowden-gate.
But after one public word in the SCMP comments section things go back to normal.
Seems more than a coincidence ( no I am NOT joking about this ).
pseudotriton
It's almost as simple as plain physics: whoever has the biggest economic and military might wins in the end. Plain and simple. If it were someone wanted by China or Russia (never mind smaller countries) that fled to the US and the Americans want to give them asylum, China or Russia can forget about getting them back. But given that this is someone who the biggest of big brothers wants, no other country will have the balls big enough to say "no", not even Russia. I feel sorry for Snowden, as I don't think he will get anything in the end except being sent back to the US and get locked up after some show trial.

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