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  • Dec 26, 2014
  • Updated: 8:14am
Edward Snowden

Whistle-blower Snowden hits hurdles in search for asylum

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 02 July, 2013, 7:35pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 02 July, 2013, 11:33pm

NSA leaker Edward Snowden’s attempts to seek refuge outside the United States hit hurdles on Tuesday, after Russian media reported he cancelled his asylum bid in Russia and several European countries said such applications wouldn’t be considered if they were made from abroad.

Russian news agencies on Tuesday quoted President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying that Snowden withdrew his request when he learned about the terms Moscow had set out. Putin said on Monday that Russia is ready to shelter Snowden as long as he stops leaking US secrets.

At the same time, Putin said he had no plans to turn over Snowden to the United States.

Several of the other countries where WikiLeaks says Snowden has applied for asylum have said he cannot apply from abroad. Officials in Germany, Norway, Austria, Poland, Finland and Switzerland all said he must make his request on their soil.

WikiLeaks said requests have also been made to Bolivia, Brazil, China, Cuba, Ecuador, France, Iceland, India, Italy, Ireland, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Spain and Venezuela.

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro, who is visiting Moscow, told Russian reporters on Tuesday that his country has not received an application for asylum from Snowden. Maduro dodged the question whether he may take Snowden away with him to Venezuela.

WikiLeaks also posted a statement attributed to Snowden on its website late on Monday, in which he slams President Barack Obama for “using citizenship as a weapon”. 

“Although I am convicted of nothing, (the United States) has unilaterally revoked my passport, leaving me a stateless person,” Snowden says in the statement. “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.“

“Their purpose is to frighten, not me, but those who would come after me.”

The asylum requests reported by WikiLeaks and the Snowden statement could not be independently authenticated.

Snowden, who has been on the run since releasing sensitive NSA documents, is believed to have been in Moscow airport’s transit zone since his arrival from Hong Kong on June 23.

WikiLeaks legal adviser Sarah Harrison delivered the requests for asylum to an official at the Russian consulate at the Moscow airport on Sunday, according to the group that has adopted Snowden and his cause.

The US has annulled Snowden’s passport, and Ecuador, where he had initially hoped to get asylum, has been giving mixed signals about offering him shelter.

The expanded requests for asylum come as the Obama administration contends with European allies angry about the release of documents that alleged US eavesdropping on European Union diplomats.

Obama said on Monday that the US would provide allies with information about new reports that the NSA had bugged EU offices in Washington, New York and Brussels. But he also suggested such activity by governments would hardly be unusual.

French President Francois Hollande said on Tuesday that France has “not received any particular requests from Mr Snowden.” He also called for a common EU stance on the NSA snooping.

France prides itself on being a haven for political prisoners, and offers asylum to more people annually than any other country but the United States. French politicians on the far right and far left have called for France to take Snowden in – as have members of the Green party, which is a part of Hollande’s Socialist-led government. However, it is unlikely that France would take in Snowden. Hollande and leading French officials, despite outraged comments in recent days, sees the US as a key ally.

A foreign ministry spokeswoman in China and an Interior Ministry spokesman in Spain both said they were not aware about Snowden’s possible plea to seek asylum in their respective countries.


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hard times !
France is a country which takes in more politcal refugees than any other countries except the US.Yet she has close relationship with Uncle Sam and she is also a close ally of the States.Though both the far-right and far-left parties sympathize with Snowden,France will hardly take him in, I think.Spain and China have not decided yet.The other European countries that Snowden has asked for an asylum said that he has to be on their soil to seek his request and have his application tackled.But how can he arrive safely in these countries ? Once he leaves the transit zone of Russia, his safety can never be guaranteed.His plane might be shot down by drones or hijacked to an American air base.Just wait and see.
hard times !
maybe now our leaker-hero,Mr.Snowden should rapidly go to a nearby country of Russia to seek his asylum as the Austrian government spokeswoman said that his application for an asylum in her country can be done only when he is there personally.And she emphasized Snowden is not wanted by the Interpol as an internationally-wanted man,he wouldn't be driven away once he steps on the soil of Austria which is much nearer Russia than the two S.American countries:Venezuela and Bolivia.Seeking a country that will grant him a safe haven/refuge is his most urgent task now------so that he can continue to serve the public of the world by disclosing the top-secret info.of the NSA of America that he had brought out from his Hawaii office and seeking justice in this unfair world where he lives Right ?
hard times !
Wish this whistle-blower of our era will smoothly pass his ordeal or else he may be forced to disclose all the shocking top-secrets of the cybersurveillance of the NSA of America against the whole world and his countrymen (though now his passport has been revoked/annulled). Since he has got Plan B--------already had his files sent to different persons all over the world but without the code numbers to open them.Once he was caught or forced to surrender himself,the code numbers will be sent to respective persons who keep the files and the contents will be made known to the public of the world. Of course,he also left a copy of his files in Hong Kong.Once he meets any accidents,the files will still be kept here and the contents might still be made known to the world.


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