NSA leaker Edward Snowden asks Russia for asylum, issues statement via Wikileaks


Image: The Guardian

The Interfax news agency today reported that a Russian consular official confirms Edward Snowden has asked for political asylum in Russia.

Interfax cited Kim Shevchenko, the duty officer at the Russian Foreign Ministry's consular office in Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport, as saying that Snowden's representative, Sarah Harrison, handed over his request Sunday.

Reuters and the New York Times previously reported that Snowden had applied for asylum with 15 different nations, after Ecuador's president issued statements indicating he would not find a home there.

Late today, Wikileaks published a statement from the whistleblower, who is wanted by the United States on charges of espionage, theft and conversion of government property:

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 have 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

Update: The letter as it appears on the Wikileaks website has since been edited.

Notable Replies

  1. His statement is very well written and definitely worth a read. From the end of the release-

    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

  2. But so is the US government. If Mr. Snowden doesn't continue to make noise, how will anyone know that he's alive and free?

  3. I am willing to give up my IP address, my physical address, my social security number and even my celll phone records and search history if it means that my hometown won't look like Damascus during my kids lifetime.

    Doing the first thing won't prevent the second. It never has, anywhere.

  4. You mean the part where he's trapped in Moscow with his freedom endangered just so Americans can know how fucked their civil rights are in the USA?

    Doesn't sound like a fun, little publicity tour to me. Sounds more like he's put his ass on the line for ingrates instead.

    He has the guts to defend himself and speak truth to power. I would love to hang out with this American hero. You? Not so much...

  5. He's an adult, in case you didn't know. But, I guess by calling him a "kid" it's a nice, passive aggressive way to dismiss this brave man, huh?

    So, are you going to get help for it?

    Spoken like a true coward. No wonder you hate this "kid" who shows bravery instead of weak cowardice in the face of adversity and government overreach.

    You know what would be even safer, though? We should all put ourselves in a giant prison where we can all be more easily monitored 24/7. After all, we don't all want to be destroyed and have our hometowns look like Damascus. They'd appear much better looking like Alcatraz...

    My feelings about you exactly.

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