Home Tags Posts tagged with "Wikileaks"
Edward Snowden has thanked Russia for granting him temporary asylum, allowing him to leave the Moscow airport where he has been holed up since June.
In a statement, Edward Snowden also accused the US government of showing “no respect” for international law.
The US has charged Edward Snowden with leaking details of its electronic surveillance programmes.
Washington has expressed its “extreme disappointment” at Russia’s decision.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said they were considering whether a meeting between US President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in September should go ahead.
The latest developments came amid fresh revelations from the cache of documents leaked by Edward Snowden.
Documents seen by the UK’s Guardian newspaper appear to show the US government paid at least $150 million to the UK’s GCHQ spy agency to secure access to and influence over Britain’s intelligence gathering programmes.
Edward Snowden’s lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, said the former CIA contractor had left Sheremetyevo Airport at about 14:00 local time for an undisclosed destination.
Showing a photocopy of the document issued to his client, he described Edward Snowden as “the most pursued man on the planet”.
Anatoly Kucherena said Edward Snowden was being looked after by a legal expert from the whistleblowing organization WikiLeaks.
Russia’s Federal Migration Service later officially confirmed that Edward Snowden had been granted temporary asylum for one year, Interfax news agency reported.
Russia granted Edward Snowden temporary asylum, allowing him to leave the Moscow airport
In a statement issued on the WikiLeaks website, Edward Snowden said: “Over the past eight weeks we have seen the Obama administration show no respect for international or domestic law, but in the end the law is winning.
“I thank the Russian Federation for granting me asylum in accordance with its laws and international obligations.”
President Barack Obama and President Vladimir Putin had been scheduled to meet on the sidelines of a G20 summit in early September in Saint Petersburg.
However, Jay Carney said: “We’re extremely disappointed that the Russian government would take this step despite our very clear and lawful requests in public and in private to have Mr. Snowden expelled to the United States to face the charges against him.
“We’re evaluating the utility of a summit in light of this and other issues.”
Earlier, Senator Robert Menendez, chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee, described Thursday’s development as “a setback to US-Russia relations”.
“Edward Snowden is a fugitive who belongs in a United States courtroom, not a free man deserving of asylum in Russia,” he said.
Republican Senator John McCain also issued a stinging rebuke, saying Russia’s actions were “a disgrace and a deliberate effort to embarrass the United States”.
“It is a slap in the face of all Americans. Now is the time to fundamentally rethink our relationship with Putin’s Russia. We need to deal with the Russia that is, not the Russia we might wish for,” he said.
Vladimir Putin has said previously that Edward Snowden could receive asylum in Russia on condition he stopped leaking US secrets.
The Russian president’s foreign policy adviser, Yury Ushakov, said the situation was “rather insignificant” and should not influence relations with the US.
Information leaked by Edward Snowden first surfaced in the Guardian newspaper in early June.
It showed that the National Security Agency (NSA) was collecting the telephone records of tens of millions of Americans.
The systems analyst also disclosed that the NSA had tapped directly into the servers of nine internet firms including Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo to track online communication in a surveillance programme known as PRISM.
PRISM was allegedly also used by Britain’s electronic eavesdropping agency, GCHQ. The agency was further accused of sharing vast amounts of data with the NSA.
Allegations that the NSA had spied on its EU allies caused indignation in Europe.
Private Bradley Manning, who leaked thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks, has been convicted of espionage but not of aiding the enemy.
Bradley Manning, 25, has been found guilty of 20 charges in total, including theft and computer fraud.
He had admitted leaking the documents to anti-secrecy organization WikiLeaks but said he did so to spark a debate on US foreign policy.
The leak is considered the largest ever of secret US government files.
Bradley Manning faces a maximum sentence up to 136 years. His sentencing hearing is set to begin on Wednesday.
In addition to multiple espionage counts, he was also found guilty of five theft charges, two computer fraud charges and multiple military infractions.
Bradley Manning stood and faced Judge Colonel Denise Lind as she read the decision on Tuesday. She said she would release detailed written findings at a later date.
He appeared to not react during the verdict, but his defense lawyer, David Coombs, smiled faintly as the not guilty charge on aiding the enemy was read.
Private Bradley Manning, who leaked thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks, has been convicted of espionage but not of aiding the enemy
“We won the battle, now we need to go win the war,” his defense lawyer, David Coombs said of the sentencing phase.
“Today is a good day, but Bradley is by no means out of the fire.”
Being found guilty of aiding the enemy could have had serious implications for people leaking documents in the future.
“The government’s pursuit of the ‘aiding the enemy’ charge was a serious overreach of the law, not least because there was no credible evidence of Manning’s intent to harm the USA by releasing classified information to WikiLeaks,” Amnesty International said in a statement.
Among the items sent to WikiLeaks by Pte. Bradley Manning was graphic footage of an Apache helicopter attack in 2007 that killed a dozen people in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, including a Reuters photographer.
The documents also included 470,000 Iraq and Afghanistan battlefield reports and 250,000 secure state department cables between Washington and embassies around the world.
Bradley Manning, an intelligence analyst, was arrested in Iraq in May 2010. He spent weeks in a cell at Camp Arifjan, a US Army installation in Kuwait, before being transferred to the US.
During the court martial, prosecutors said Bradley Manning systematically harvested hundreds of thousands of classified documents in order to gain notoriety.
With his training as an intelligence analyst, Bradley Manning should have known the leaked documents would become available to al-Qaeda operatives, they argued.
The defense characterized him as a naive and young soldier who had become disillusioned during his time in Iraq.
His actions, David Coombs argued, were those of a whistle-blower.
In a lengthy statement during a pre-trial hearing in February, Bradley Manning said he had leaked the files in order to spark a public debate about US foreign policy and the military.
Bradley Manning’s supporters rallied outside the court in Fort Meade and said they are planning to march to the White House on Tuesday evening.
Fugitive NSA leaker Edward Snowden has sent asylum requests to 21 countries, according to a statement published by WikiLeaks.
They include China, France, Ireland and Venezuela. Russia and Norway confirmed they had received applications.
But Russia said Edward Snowden later withdrew the application as the Kremlin had set conditions.
Edward Snowden accuses President Barack Obama of putting pressure on the countries to which he has applied.
The 30-year-old former intelligence systems analyst, who is holed up at Moscow airport, is wanted by the US on charges of leaking secrets.
US Secretary of State John Kerry was expected to discuss Edward Snowden’s case in talks with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on the sidelines of the ASEAN summit in Brunei.
The WikiLeaks press release said that most of the asylum requests – including to Russia itself – were handed to the Russian consulate at Sheremetyevo airport late on Sunday for delivery to the relevant embassies in Moscow.
The requests were submitted by Sarah Harrison, a British member of the WikiLeaks legal team acting as Edward Snowden’s representative, the statement added.
But Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov later said Edward Snowden withdrew the application to Russia because Moscow had said he should give up “anti-American activity”.
“After learning of Russian’s position yesterday, voiced by President Putin … he abandoned his intention [of staying] and his request to be able to stay in Russia,” he said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin had said that while Moscow “never hands over anybody anywhere”, Edward Snowden could only stay on condition that he stopped damaging Russia’s “American partners” with his leaks.
Edward Snowden has reportedly been in the transit area of Sheremetyevo since arriving there from Hong Kong on June 23.
Dmitry Peskov confirmed he was still there and had not crossed into Russian territory, adding that the former analyst had never been a Russian agent and had never worked with its intelligence services.
Polish Foreign Minister Radoslav Sikorski said on Twitter his country had received an application but that he would not be recommending granting the request.
Fugitive NSA leaker Edward Snowden has sent asylum requests to 21 countries
Norway’s foreign ministry later said its embassy in Moscow had received an application by fax which was “probably from him”.
But Norway, Poland, Germany, Austria, Finland and Switzerland said asylum requests could only be made on their soil.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, who is on a visit to Moscow, said Caracas had not yet received an asylum application from Edward Snowden but that he had “done something very important for humanity” and “deserved the world’s protection”.
“The world’s conscience should react, the world youth should react, the decent people who want a peaceful world should react, everyone should react and find solidarity with this young man who has denounced and altered the world that they [the US] pretend to control.”
Edward Snowden had previously submitted an application to Ecuador, whose embassy in London is sheltering WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, and to Iceland.
Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa told the Agence France-Presse news agency on Monday that his country would process Edward Snowden’s asylum request if he managed to enter an Ecuadorean embassy.
However, if he can complete his asylum request on Russian territory, then “the situation can be processed and resolved there,” President Correa added.
Details have also emerged of a letter from Edward Snowden to President Rafael Correa, thanking Ecuador for guaranteeing “my rights would be protected upon departing Hong Kong – I could never have risked travel without that”.
Speaking in Tanzania on Monday, President Barack Obama said Moscow and Washington had held “high level discussions” about Edward Snowden, who he said had travelled to Moscow without valid documents.
Edward Snowden describes himself as “a stateless person”, accusing the US government of stopping him from exercising the “basic right…to seek asylum”.
“The president ordered his vice president to pressure the leaders of nations from which I have requested protection to deny my asylum petitions,” he is quoted by WikiLeaks as saying.
“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.”
The leaking of thousands of classified intelligence documents has led to revelations that the US is systematically seizing vast amounts of phone and web data.
Asylum requests to 21 countries:
- Austria, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Cuba, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, India, Italy, Ireland, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Norway, Poland, Russia (withdrawn), Spain, Switzerland, Venezuela
Edward Snowden accuses President Barack Obama of deception and taking away his basic rights as an American in a letter released by WikiLeaks.
The letter says Barack Obama – despite his public denials that he’d been “wheeling and dealing” with international parties over Edward Snowden – has dispatched Vice President Joe Biden to pressurize governments where the 30-year-old has sought asylum.
WikiLeaks today revealed they have applied to 21 countries in total on Edward Snowden’s behalf. The list includes Austria, Bolivia, Brazil, Cuba, Finland, France, Spain, Germany and Ireland.
It comes as Ecuador’s president Rafael Correa appeared to wash his hands of Edward Snowden saying his country is not considering his asylum request and that the former CIA analyst is Russia’s problem now.
Admitting Ecuador made a “mistake” in helping Edward Snowden flee Hong Kong in the first place, Rafael Correa appeared to backtrack on previous suggestions he was welcome, adding: “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.”
Asked if he would like to meet Edward Snowden, Rafael Correa added: “Not particularly. He’s a very complicated person. Strictly speaking, Mr. Snowden spied for some time.”
His comments are in direct contrast to the open letter of thanks Edward Snowden issued hours earlier, before Rafael Correa’s views had been published.
“I remain free and able to publish information that serves the public interest,” Edward Snowden said in an undated Spanish-language letter sent to President Rafael Correa.
“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.”
Hours after Rafael Correa’s comments, Finland became the first of today’s new list of potential safe havens to reject his plea for asylum saying such a request has to be made from inside the country.
WikiLeaks legal adviser Sarah Harrison is said to have led the petitions for asylum also made to India, Italy, Norway, Venezuela and Switzerland.
Edward Snowden accuses President Barack Obama of deception and taking away his basic rights as an American in a letter released by WikiLeaks
She also claims to have handled his current application in Russia and his previous request for assistance to China while he was hiding out in Hong Kong.
The long list suggests options are thin on the ground for the former NSA contractor and it appears – from his letter – that he is frustrated by the global community’s refusal to shelter him.
In it Edward Snowden complains that the US is illegally pursuing him for an act that was in the public interest.
“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,” it states.
Many critics seized on the letter’s syntax last night to claim it was a fake, written by someone in Britain.
Specifically, those doubting the letter’s authenticity pointed to this phrase: “For decades the United States of America have been one of the strongest defenders of the human right to seek asylum.”
An American English speaker would use the singular form, has, in relation to the United States.
After the internet erupted in a flurry of doubt, the word “have” was changed to “has” on the official statement on the WikiLeaks site.
Full text of letter released by WikiLeaks it claims is from Edward Snowden
“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”
Edward Snowden’s father, Lon Snowden, has said he believes his son would return to the US on certain conditions.
Lon Snowden asked for “ironclad assurances” his son’s rights would be protected in a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder.
He asked his son not be held before trial nor subjected to a gag order, and be able to choose where he was tried.
Edward Snowden, who faces spy charges in the US, flew to Moscow last weekend and has requested asylum in Ecuador.
“Mr. Snowden is reasonably confident that his son would voluntarily return to the United States if there were ironclad assurances that his constitutional rights would be honored,” said the letter by Lon Snowden’s lawyer, Bruce Fein.
The correspondence also requested for the case against the former intelligence contractor to be dismissed in the event that any of the three conditions were not met.
Earlier on Friday, Lon Snowden told NBC News he had not spoken to his son since April, a month before he fled to Hong Kong after leaking to media details of a huge US snooping programme.
Lon Snowden said his son had broken the law, but denied he was a traitor.
“At this point I don’t feel that he’s committed treason,” he said.
Edward Snowden’s father, Lon Snowden, has said he believes his son would return to the US on certain conditions
“He has in fact broken US law, in a sense that he has released classified information.”
Lon Snowden also voiced concern his son was being exploited by WikiLeaks, which has offered legal assistance to the 30-year-old.
“I don’t want to put him in peril, but I am concerned about those who surround him,” he said.
“I think WikiLeaks, if you’ve looked at past history, you know, their focus isn’t necessarily the constitution of the United States. It’s simply to release as much information as possible.”
Edward Snowden flew last Sunday from Hong Kong to Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport, where Russian authorities say he remains in a transit zone.
On Friday, the diplomatic fallout from the affair continued as a US envoy accused China of “misbehavior” for allowing Edward Snowden to leave.
“I don’t think we had a good-faith partner throughout that process,” said Stephen Young, the US consul general in Hong Kong, warning of repercussions.
The city’s government has said the US arrest paperwork had clerical errors, and that it had no legal basis to stop Edward Snowden travelling to Russia.
Beijing has accused the US of “double standards” on cybersecurity.
Ecuador says it has not yet processed the former US National Security Agency contractor’s request for asylum.
Russian authorities complained on Friday the US had not informed them in time that Edward Snowden’s passport had been revoked, placing Moscow in a “tough spot”.
“If this fact had been known in advance, then possibly Mr. Snowden might not have flown to Moscow and this entire story might never have happened,” an unnamed Russian official told Interfax news agency.
Russian President Vladimir Putin this week refused to hand over Edward Snowden to Washington, saying he was a “free man”.
Late on Thursday, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro repeated his offer of sanctuary to the US fugitive.
Ecuador officials say it could take months to rule on an asylum bid by fugitive whistleblower Edward Snowden.
Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said it had taken Ecuador two months to grant asylum to Julian Assange, the founder of whistleblowing website WikiLeaks.
The website has been lending legal support to Edward Snowden, who is in a transit zone at a Moscow airport.
A WikiLeaks tweet said the American was “well” and being accompanied by one of its legal advisers “at all times”.
The website has not further elaborated on Edward Snowden’s whereabouts.
Both WikiLeaks and Russia have denied reports that the Russian secret police have questioned the American.
Edward Snowden first fled to Hong Kong before flying to Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport on Sunday.
He was expected to board a flight to the Venezuelan capital Caracas on Monday but his seat remained vacant.
Edward Snowden, 30, has had his US passport revoked and applied for Ecuadorean asylum.
Ecuador officials say it could take months to rule on an asylum bid by fugitive whistleblower Edward Snowden
On Wednesday, Ricardo Patino compared the case to that of Julian Assange, who has been living inside the Ecuadorean embassy in London for more than a year.
Julian Assange walked into the embassy when his appeal against extradition to Sweden for questioning on accusations of sex crimes was turned down last June.
“It took us more than two months to make a decision in the case of Assange, so do not expect us to make a decision sooner this time,” Ricardo Patino told reporters.
Ricardo Patino said Ecuador had not yet decided whether to offer protection to Edward Snowden in the meantime.
“If he goes to an embassy, then we will make a decision,” the foreign minister said.
Ecuador said it would consider the American’s application “responsibly” and would weigh “human rights obligations”.
It added that the US would have to submit its position in writing regarding Edward Snowden.
Venezuela has also said it will consider an asylum application from Edward Snowden.
Edward Snowden’s case has caused a diplomatic spat, with the US accusing Russia and China of assisting the fugitive. Both nations have rejected the charges.
Russia earlier confirmed that Edward Snowden was still in a transit zone at the Moscow airport.
Although the country has no extradition treaty with the US, Washington said it wanted Moscow to extradite Edward Snowden without delay.
But Russia said that the American was technically not yet under its jurisdiction because he had not passed through immigration.
Meanwhile China described accusations that it allowed Edward Snowden to leave Hong Kong despite an arrest warrant as “groundless and unacceptable”.
The Chinese government has expressed deep concern about the leaker’s allegations that the US had hacked into networks in China.
Edward Snowden is wanted by the US for leaking highly sensitive information to the media about a secret government surveillance programme, which he obtained while working as a contractor for the National Security Agency (NSA).
He is charged with theft of government property, unauthorized communication of national defense information and willful communication of classified communications intelligence.
Edward Snowden’s leaks have led to revelations that the US is systematically seizing vast amounts of phone and web data under an NSA programme known as Prism.
US officials have defended the practice of gathering telephone and internet data from private users around the world.
They say PRISM cannot be used to target intentionally any Americans or anyone in the US, and stress that it is supervised by judges.
Edward Snowden is set to fly from Moscow to Ecuador where he will seek asylum, WikiLeaks has revealed.
Whistleblower Edward Snowden, 30, flew into the Russian capital just after 5 p.m. local time on Sunday after fleeing Hong Kong, where he had been hiding out since leaking explosive details of the U.S. government’s widespread surveillance programs.
Unable to leave Moscow’s Sheremtyevo airport without a Russian visa, the former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor is reportedly booked into a $15-an-hour capsule hotel on the airport premises where he will stay before he flies out to Ecuador tomorrow via a “safe route” – presumably Cuba.
In a statement on Sunday afternoon, WikiLeaks said Edward Snowden was bound for Ecuador – a country which has been harboring the anti-secrecy agency’s founder Julian Assange for the past year – “for the purposes of asylum, and is being escorted by diplomats and legal advisors from WikiLeaks”.
At around 8:40 p.m. Moscow time, Ecuador’sf oreign minister, Ricardo Patiño Aroca, tweeted that Edward Snowden had officially requested asylum from the South American country.
WikiLeaks said the request will be formally processed once Edward Snowden touches down in Ecuador.
It is not clear if Edward Snowden has arrived at the Vozdushny Express hotel, located in Terminal E, where The Guardian reported that he was booked in. Guests must pay by the hour, however a minimum stay is four hours. On its website, the hotel describes its rooms as resembling “cabins of (a) cruise liner” rather than “capsules”. It is not clear when on Monday Snowden is due to fly to Ecuador – presumably the capital, Quito.
Meanwhile, it was revealed that Edward Snowden’s passport has been revoked by the U.S. though he should still be able to travel to a country that wants to take him, CBS News reported.
A revoked passport, however, may complicate travel to a third country – namely Cuba, which is where he is believed to be passing through en route to Ecuador.
State Department Jen Psaki said in a statement: “As is routine and consistent with US regulations, persons with felony arrest warrants are subject to having their passport revoked. Such a revocation does not affect citizenship status.
“Persons wanted on felony charges, such as Mr. Snowden, should not be allowed to proceed in any further international travel, other than is necessary to return him to the United States. Because of the Privacy Act, we cannot comment on Mr. Snowden’s passport specifically.”
Edward Snowden is set to fly from Moscow to Ecuador where he will seek asylum
Edward Snowden is not expected to leave the airport in Moscow so his immigration status shouldn’t be a concern in Russia.
An Aeroflot source earlier told Interfax: “He has arrived. He cannot leave the terminal, since he doesn’t have a Russian visa.”
Ecuador’s ambassador to Russia, Patricio Chavez, along with crowds of journalists, was waiting to meet with Edward Snowden inside Sheremtyevo airport after his Aeroflot flight from Hong Kong to Moscow landed. Two diplomatic cars from the Ecuador embassy were photographed in the car park.
It was earlier reported that Edward Snowden would fly to Havana, Cuba tomorrow and then on to Caracas in Venezuela, though Ecuador perhaps makes more sense as a safe haven given the country has been harboring WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in its London embassy for more than a year.
The White House said President Barack Obama has been briefed on Sunday’s developments, which could prove embarrassing for the government.
After news spread of the whistleblower’s departure from Hong Kong, U.S. politicians began again labeling Edward Snowden a “traitor” and demanding the Obama administration chase him to the ends of the earth.
“I think it is important for the American people to realize that this guy is a traitor, a defector, he’s not a hero,” Republican congressman for New York Peter King said on Fox News on Sunday afternoon.
Meanwhile, Republican senator for South Carolina, Lindsey Graham, told the same station: “I hope we’ll chase him to the ends of the earth, bring him to justice and let the Russians know there will be consequences if they harbor this guy.”
WikiLeaks said in the statement Edward Snowden requested its legal expertise and experience to secure his safety.
“The WikiLeaks legal team and I are interested in preserving Mr. Snowden’s rights and protecting him as a person,” Former Spanish Judge Baltasar Garzon, legal director of Wikileaks and lawyer for Assange, said in a statement on Sunday.
“What is being done to Mr. Snowden and to Mr. Julian Assange – for making or facilitating disclosures in the public interest – is an assault against the people.”
WikiLeaks already helped Edward Snowden flee Hong Kong. He caught Aeroflot flight SU213 from Hong Kong to Moscow on Sunday morning.
WikiLeaks said in an earlier statement that its legal advisers had been on the plane to Moscow with Edward Snowden and they would help ‘secure his safety’ at his ‘final destination’.
In tweets from its official account, Wikileaks said: “WikiLeaks has assisted Mr. Snowden’s political asylum in a democratic country, travel papers and safe exit from Hong Kong.
“Mr. Snowden is currently over Russian airspace accompanied by WikiLeaks legal advisors.”
The site has confirmed British journalist and legal researcher Sarah Harrison was with Edward Snowden on the flight, adding she was “courageously” assisting him “in his passage to safety”.
The Hong Kong government confirmed he had left the country “on his own accord for a third country through a lawful and normal channel”.
Edward Snowden got an Aeroflot flight from Chep Lap Kok airport at 11.04 a.m. Sunday (Hong Kong time) and landed at Moscow’s Shermetyevo International Airport at 5.15 p.m.
A Moscow-based agent for the airline said Edward Snowden was traveling on a one-way ticket and had one person with him, the New York Times reported.
The U.S. Department of Justice said it had been informed Edward Snowden had left Hong Kong.
“We will continue to discuss this matter with Hong Kong and pursue relevant law enforcement cooperation with other countries where Mr. Snowden may be attempting to travel,” spokesman, Nanda Chitre, told CBS News.
The Hong Kong government said in a statement that it had told the US about the whistleblower’s departure.
The U.S. government Saturday warned Hong Kong not to drag its feet over extraditing Edward Snowden after he was charged with theft, espionage and theft of government property.
Edward Snowden, the CIA contractor who leaked classified documents revealing US internet and phone surveillance, has asked Ecuador for asylum.
The request was confirmed by Ecuador’s foreign minister on Twitter.
Edward Snowden had fled the US for Hong Kong but flew out on Sunday morning and is currently in Moscow.
A US extradition request to Hong Kong failed but Washington insists he should now be denied international travel.
Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino, who is in Vietnam, said on Twitter: “The Government of Ecuador has received an asylum request from Edward J. #Snowden.”
Wikileaks said in a statement that Edward Snowden was “bound for the Republic of Ecuador via a safe route for the purposes of asylum, and is being escorted by diplomats and legal advisers from Wikileaks”.
The anti-secrecy group said Edward Snowden’s asylum request would be formally processed when he arrived in Ecuador.
The US state department said Edward Snowden’s passport had been revoked, saying this was “routine and consistent with US regulations”.
“Persons wanted on felony charges, such as Mr. Snowden, should not be allowed to proceed in any further international travel, other than is necessary to return him to the United States,” said spokeswoman Jen Psaki.
However, one US official told the Associated Press that if a senior official in a country or airline ordered it, a country could overlook the lack of a passport.
Edward Snowden had fled the US for Hong Kong but flew out on Sunday morning and is currently in Moscow
Hong Kong officials said Edward Snowden had left “on his own accord for a third country through a lawful and normal channel” because the US extradition request was incomplete and there was no legal basis to restrict him from departing.
Edward Snowden left on Aeroflot flight SU213 and landed at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport shortly after 17:00 local time on Sunday, where he was reportedly picked up by either a Venezuelan or Ecuadorean embassy car.
A source at the Russian airline company was quoted earlier as saying that Edward Snowden would fly on to Cuba – one report said he was booked on a Monday morning flight there.
It is unclear where Edward Snowden currently is, but he is reported to have not left the airport, and the Ecuadorean ambassador was spotted at an airside hotel.
The US and Ecuador have a joint extradition treaty, but it is not applicable to “crimes or offences of a political character”.
Ecuador is already giving political asylum to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who has been sheltering in its London embassy for the past year.
The US justice department has said it will seek co-operation from whichever country Edward Snowden arrives in.
“We will continue to discuss this matter with Hong Kong and pursue relevant law enforcement co-operation with other countries where Mr. Snowden may be attempting to travel,” Nanda Chitre, a spokeswoman for the justice department said in a statement.
Edward Snowden had left his home in Hawaii after leaking details of his work as an National Security Agency (NSA) analyst and the extensive US surveillance programme to the UK’s Guardian newspaper and the Washington Post.
He has been charged in the US with theft of government property, unauthorized communication of national defense information and willful communication of classified communications intelligence.
Each of the charges carries a maximum 10-year prison sentence. The complaint is dated June 14 – although it was made public only on Friday.
NSA chief Keith Alexander told ABC News on Sunday there had been no warning that Edward Snowden had taken the documents.
“Clearly, the system did not work as it should have,” he said.
General Keith Alexander also said the spying agency was overhauling its operations to tighten security on contractors, including tracking the actions of system administrators like Edward Snowden.
The leaks have led to revelations that the US is systematically seizing vast amounts of phone and web data under an NSA programme known as PRISM.
Edward Snowden said earlier that he had decided to speak out after observing “a continuing litany of lies” from senior officials to Congress.
US officials have defended the practice of gathering telephone and internet data from private users around the world.
They say PRISM cannot be used to intentionally target any Americans or anyone in the US, and that it is supervised by judges.
US soldier Bradley Manning “systematically harvested” a vast trove of secret documents to share with WikiLeaks, military prosecutors have said.
At the start of Pvt. Bradley Manning’s court martial, a prosecutor said Osama Bin Laden had received leaked information.
But defense lawyers said Pvt. Bradley Manning, 25, was young and naive when he shared the files with the anti-secrecy site.
He has not denied his role in the leak, and faces up to life in prison if convicted of aiding the enemy.
Earlier this year, Pvt. Bradley Manning pleaded guilty to 10 of the 22 charges against him related to the leaks, but not to the most serious charge.
The Manning-WikiLeaks case is considered the largest-ever leak of secret US government documents. Prosecutors say the disclosures harmed US national interests, while Pvt. Bradley Manning’s supporters say he is a whistle-blowing hero.
In opening statements on Monday at a military courtroom in Fort Meade, Maryland, prosecutor Capt. Joe Morrow called the case an example of what happened “when arrogance meets access”.
Capt. Joe Morrow argued the case was not about a whistleblower’s leak of targeted information.
“This, your honor, this is a case about a soldier who systematically harvested hundreds of thousands of documents from classified databases and then dumped that information on to the internet into the hands of the enemy,” he said.
According to the prosecutor, Pvt. Bradley Manning used his military training to gain the notoriety he craved and attempted to hide what he had done at every step of the process.
He said he would introduce evidence Osama Bin Laden himself had gained access to some of the WikiLeaks information – and had put it to use.
Prosecutors plan to introduce blog entries, a computer, a hard drive and a memory card as evidence against Pvt. Bradley Manning. The military prosecutors will also call witnesses to describe his training and his deployment to Iraq.
In an opening statement, Pvt. Bradley Manning’s lawyer David Coombs said he was “young, naive and good-intentioned” when he arrived in Iraq.
But in late 2009, after an Iraqi died in an attack, he grew disillusioned after seeing his comrades celebrating because no US soldiers had been hurt.
After that incident, Pvt. Bradley Manning began collecting information he thought would “make the world a better place” if public.
“He believed this information showed how we value human life,” David Coombs said.
At the start of Pvt. Bradley Manning’s court martial, a prosecutor said Osama Bin Laden had received leaked information
“He was troubled by that. He believed that if the American public saw it, they too would be troubled.”
The defense lawyer argued that Pvt. Bradley Manning was “selective” in his choice of the hundreds of millions of documents he had access to.
The prosecution’s opening arguments directly relate to the most serious charge against Pvt. Bradley Manning: aiding the enemy. To obtain a conviction, prosecutors must prove Pvt. Bradley Manning acted with intent to aid the enemy and knowingly gave such adversaries US intelligence information.
The prosecution’s argument – that releasing such information on to the internet counts as aiding the enemy – has serious implications for anyone leaking classified information in the future.
The military will aim to show the information was of “great value” to US enemies, but supporters argue all Pvt. Bradley Manning did was make public what should never have been private.
Pvt. Bradley Manning, who was arrested in May 2010 while serving in Iraq, has not denied leaking the documents.
He told a pre-trial hearing in February he divulged the documents to spark a public debate on the role of the US military and foreign policy.
However, prosecutors argue the leaks damaged national security and endangered American lives.
One of the leaked videos shows graphic footage of an Apache helicopter attack in 2007 that killed a dozen people in Baghdad, including a Reuters photographer.
Other documents leaked included thousands of battlefield reports from Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as secure messages between US embassies and the state department in Washington.
Whatever prison sentence Pvt. Bradley Manning receives will be reduced by 112 days, after a judge ruled he had suffered unduly harsh treatment during his initial detention following his arrest.
The soldier chose to have his court martial heard by a judge instead of a jury. It is expected to run all summer.
Judge Col. Denise Lind ruled in May she would close parts of the trial to the public to protect classified material.
Meanwhile, the UK government said on Sunday it was considering a request from Ecuador to hold talks on the future of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
Julian Assange has lived in the Ecuadorean embassy in London for a year, having been granted political asylum there.
He faces extradition to Sweden over s** allegations, which he denies.
What is WikiLeaks?
- Website with a reputation for publishing sensitive material
- Run by Julian Assange, an Australian with a background in computer network hacking
- Released 77,000 secret US records of US military incidents about the war in Afghanistan and 400,000 similar documents on Iraq
- Also posted video showing US helicopter killing 12 people – including two journalists – in Baghdad in 2007
- Other controversial postings include screenshots of the e-mail inbox and address book of US vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin
Wikileaks has published a new collection of more than 1.7 million of US diplomatic and intelligence documents from the 1970s.
The documents include allegations that former Indian PM Rajiv Gandhi was a middleman in an arms deal and the first impressions of eventual British PM Margaret Thatcher.
The records have not been leaked and are available to view at the US national archives.
Wikileaks says it is releasing the documents in searchable form.
Wikileaks has published a new collection of more than 1.7 million of US diplomatic and intelligence documents from the 1970s
Much of the work has been carried out by the website’s founder Julian Assange while he has been holed up at the Ecuadorean embassy in London.
Julian Assange took refuge in the embassy last June to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over allegations that he assaulted two female ex-Wikileaks supporters in 2010.
He denies the allegations, and has said they are politically motivated and part of a smear campaign against him and his whistle-blowing website.
Wikileaks made headlines around the world in 2010 after it released more than 250,000 leaked US cables.
Julian Assange told Britain’s Press Association that the latest collection, entitled the Public Library of US Diplomacy (PlusD), reveal the “vast range and scope” of US diplomatic activity around the world.
The data comprises diplomatic cables, intelligence reports and congressional correspondence running from the beginning of 1973 to the end of 1976.
Much of the correspondence is either written by or sent to Henry Kissinger, who was US Secretary of State and National Security Adviser during that period.
It includes claims, being widely reported by the Indian media, that Rajiv Gandhi – of India’s most famous political family – was employed by the Swedish firm Saab-Scandia as it tried to sell its Viggen fighter jet to India.
Rajiv Gandhi was working as a commercial pilot and not in politics himself at the time.
A US diplomat is quoted in a February 1976 cable as saying: “We would have thought a transport pilot is not the best expert to rely upon in evaluating a fighter plane, but then we are speaking of a transport pilot who has another and perhaps more relevant qualification.”
Rajiv Gandhi became India’s prime minister in 1984 and was assassinated in 1991.
Saab-Scandia did not win its bid to sell Viggen fighter jets to India; the contract went to Britain’s Jaguar planes.
Another cable, dated February 1975, from London sets out “some first impressions” of new leader of the Conservative Party, Margaret Thatcher.
The diplomat wrote that “she has a quick, if not profound, mind, and works hard to master the most complicated brief”.
Margaret Thatcher is “crisp and a trifle patronizing” with the media, but “honest and straight-forward” with her colleagues, “if not excessively considerate of their vanities”, the diplomat wrote.
“The personification of a British middle class dream come true,” she is the “genuine voice of a beleaguered bourgeoise [sic], anxious about its eroding economic power and determined to arrest society’s seemingly inexorable trend towards collectivism”, the cable said.
The diplomat noted she had “acquired a distinctively upper middle class personal image”, which might damage her chances of becoming prime minister, but said she should not be underestimated.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is expected to make a public statement later on the diplomatic row that has engulfed him since being granted asylum by Ecuador.
WikiLeaks says Julian Assange will speak outside the Ecuadorean embassy in London, where he has taken refuge.
Julian Assange faces extradition to Sweden over sexual assault claims, which he denies.
Ecuador’s president has suggested Julian Assange could co-operate with Sweden if assurances are given that there would be no extradition to a third country.
Australian Julian Assange, 41 – whose WikiLeaks website has published a mass of leaked diplomatic cables embarrassing countries including the US – first walked into the embassy in Knightsbridge, asking for protection, two months ago.
Julian Assange is expected to make a public statement later on the diplomatic row that has engulfed him since being granted asylum by Ecuador
Julian Assange entered the embassy after the UK’s Supreme Court dismissed his bid to reopen his appeal against extradition and gave him a two-week grace period before extradition proceedings could start.
It is established international protocol that local police and security forces are not permitted to enter an embassy, unless they have the express permission of the ambassador.
On Thursday a post appeared on the WikiLeaks Twitter feed which said: “ANNOUNCEMENT: Julian Assange will give a live statement in front of the Ecuadorian embassy, Sunday 2:00 pm.”
However, it is not clear precisely how this statement will be made and Julian Assange has been warned by the British authorities that he will be arrested when he leaves the embassy.
The Sunday Times quotes sources close to Julian Assange who say he would be prepared to leave the embassy if guarantees are given by Sweden that he will not be extradited to the US.
His supporters claim he could face persecution and even the death penalty.
On Friday, Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa used his weekly national address to say that the South American country had never said Julian Assange should not “answer to the Swedish justice system”.
“What we have always asked for is a guarantee that there won’t be a second extradition to a third country as that would put at risk Mr. Assange’s life and freedom.”
Rafael Correa said a letter from the British government that drew attention to the Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act 1987 was “intolerable” and an “explicit threat”.
The act could allow the UK to potentially lift the embassy’s diplomatic status to allow police to enter the building to arrest Julian Assange for breaching his bail terms.
Meanwhile, the Alba group of leftist Latin American nations – founded by Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez – has warned the UK government “it will face grave consequences around the world if it directly breaches the territorial integrity” of the embassy.
The UK Foreign Office has said the letter was sent to clarify “all aspects of British law that Ecuador should be aware of”.
It has also said it would follow its obligations, under the Extradition Act, to arrest Julian Assange if he leaves the embassy.
Sweden, meanwhile, has said it is “unacceptable that Ecuador would want to halt the Swedish judicial process”.
It wants to question Julian Assange over allegations that he sexually assaulted two female ex-WikiLeaks volunteers while he was in Stockholm to give a lecture in 2010.
Ecuador has granted asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange two months after he took refuge in country’s London embassy while fighting extradition from the UK.
It said there were fears Julian Assange’s human rights might be violated.
Ecuadorian foreign minister Ricardo Patino accused the UK of making an “open threat” to enter its embassy to arrest him.
Julian Assange took refuge at the embassy in June to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he faces questioning over assault and rape claims, which he denies.
The Foreign Office said the decision on Julian Assange’s application for political asylum would not affect the UK’s legal obligation to extradite him to Sweden.
It tweeted: “We remain committed to a negotiated solution that allows us to carry out our obligations under the Extradition Act.”
Ecuador has granted asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange two months after he took refuge in country’s London embassy
The UK government will still seek to arrest him and it will not grant him safe passage. If he steps out, he will be arrested.
Announcing Ecuador’s decision, Ricardo Patino said the country believed Julian Assange’s fears of political persecution were “legitimate”.
He said the country was being loyal to its tradition of protecting those who were vulnerable.
“We trust that our friendship with the United Kingdom will remain intact,” he added.
The announcement was watched live by Julian Assange and embassy staff in a link to a press conference from Quito.
Outside Ecuador’s embassy in London, news was slowly spreading through Julian Assange’s assembled supporters and they were delighted.
“The political temperature has risen very significantly. It is clear this is only the beginning of a very long legal contest,” he said.
There was now a “complete standoff” between the UK and Ecuador regarding the status of the embassy in London.
The British government now had to make a decision, adding that the risks were enormous – including making other embassies around the world vulnerable.
Julian Assange entered the embassy after the UK’s Supreme Court dismissed the Australian national’s bid to reopen his appeal against extradition and gave him a two-week grace period before extradition proceedings could start.
It was during that fortnight, while on bail, that he sought refuge.
A subsequent offer by Ecuador to allow Swedish investigators to interview Julian Assange inside the embassy was rejected.
The WikiLeaks website Julian Assange founded published a mass of leaked diplomatic cables that embarrassed several governments, particularly the US’s, in 2010.
Earlier, the UK Foreign Office warned it could lift the embassy’s diplomatic status to fulfill a “legal obligation” to extradite the 41-year-old by using the Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act 1987.
That allows the UK to revoke the diplomatic status of an embassy on UK soil, which would potentially allow police to enter the building to arrest Julian Assange for breaching the terms of his bail.
Julian Assange says he fears that if extradited to Sweden, he will then be passed on to the American authorities.
In 2010, two female ex-WikiLeaks volunteers accused Julian Assange, an Australian citizen, of committing sexual offences against them while he was in Stockholm to give a lecture.
Julian Assange claims the sex was consensual and the allegations are politically motivated.
Ecuador has accused the UK of making a “threat” to enter its embassy in London to arrest WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
Julian Assange, 41, took refuge at the Ecuadorian embassy in June to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he faces questioning over assault and rape claims, which he denies.
Ecuador says a decision on his bid for political asylum will come later.
The UK Foreign Office says it can lift the embassy’s diplomatic status to fulfill a “legal obligation” to extradite Julian Assange.
The WikiLeaks website published a mass of leaked diplomatic cables that embarrassed several governments, particularly the US, in 2010, and Julian Assange says he fears that Sweden will pass him on to the American authorities.
A number of police officers are outside the Ecuadorian embassy, in Knightsbridge, where some of Julian Assange’s supporters have also gathered.
Demonstrators also protested outside the British embassy in Ecuador’s capital. Images from Quito showed protesters holding signs saying “We are sovereign, not colonies” and a union jack being stepped on.
Ecuador has accused the UK of making a "threat" to enter its embassy in London to arrest WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange
At a news conference in Quito on Wednesday, Ecuador Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said a letter from the UK government had been delivered through a British embassy official.
“Today we received from the United Kingdom an express threat, in writing, that they might storm our embassy in London if we don’t hand over Julian Assange,” he said.
“Ecuador rejects in the most emphatic terms the explicit threat of the British official communication.”
Ricardo Patino said such a threat was “improper of a democratic, civilized and rule-abiding country”.
He added: “If the measure announced in the British official communication is enacted, it will be interpreted by Ecuador as an unacceptable, unfriendly and hostile act and as an attempt against our sovereignty. It would force us to respond.
“We are not a British colony.”
A Foreign Office spokesman said the UK remained “determined” to fulfill its obligation to extradite Julian Assange.
“Throughout this process we have drawn the Ecuadorians’ attention to relevant provisions of our law, whether, for example, the extensive human rights safeguards in our extradition procedures, or to the legal status of diplomatic premises in the UK,” the spokesman said.
“We are still committed to reaching a mutually acceptable solution.”
Police have so far been unable to detain Julian Assange for breaching the terms of his bail as he is on diplomatic territory.
The law Britain has informed Ecuador it could use in the case is the Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act 1987.
It allows the UK to revoke the diplomatic status of an embassy on UK soil, which would potentially allow police to enter the building to arrest Julian Assange.
On Monday, Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa said a decision would be made this week after he held a meeting with his advisers.
Ricardo Patino told reporters an announcement on Julian Assange’s bid for political asylum would be issued on Thursday, at 07:00 local time (13:00 BST).
In 2010, two female ex-WikiLeaks volunteers accused Julian Assange, an Australian citizen, of committing sexual offences against them while he was in Stockholm to give a lecture.
Julian Assange claims the sex was consensual and the allegations are politically motivated.
He says he is concerned he may be sent later to the US to face espionage charges.
In June, judges at the UK’s Supreme Court dismissed his final appeal against extradition to Sweden.
An offer by Ecuador to allow Swedish investigators to interview Julian Assange inside the embassy was rejected.
UK letter to Ecuador
Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said the letter from the UK to Ecuador stated: “You need to be aware that there is a legal base in the UK, the Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act 1987, that would allow us to take actions in order to arrest Mr Assange in the current premises of the embassy.
“We sincerely hope that we do not reach that point, but if you are not capable of resolving this matter of Mr. Assange’s presence in your premises, this is an open option for us.”
It went on: “We need to reiterate that we consider the continued use of the diplomatic premises in this way incompatible with the Vienna Convention and unsustainable and we have made clear the serious implications that this has for our diplomatic relations.”
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has lost his extradition appeal at UK Supreme Court.
Julian Assange, 40, fights against extradition to Sweden to face accusations of sex offences.
Lord Phillips, the court’s president said he had lost by a majority of five justices to two.
The court ruled the extradition request had been “lawfully made”.
However, Julian Assange’s lawyers have been given 14 days to consider challenging the ruling, saying it could have been reached unfairly.
Dinah Rose QC, for Julian Assange, said the Supreme Court’s decision could have been made on legal points not argued during the appeal – and she needed time to consider asking the court to reopen the case.
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has lost his extradition appeal at UK Supreme Court
Julian Assange, who has been on conditional bail in the UK, did not attend the hearing in central London. His lawyer later told reporters he had been “stuck in traffic”.
The Australian is accused of raping one woman and “sexually molesting and coercing” another in Stockholm in August 2010, but he claims the allegations against him are politically motivated.
Julian Assange’s lawyers had asked the court to block his removal, arguing that a European arrest warrant issued against him was “invalid and unenforceable”.
The key legal question for the seven judges was whether the prosecutor who issued the arrest warrant had the “judicial authority” to do so under the 2003 Extradition Act.
Lord Phillips said five of the justices agreed the warrant had been lawful because the Swedish prosecutor behind the warrant could be considered a proper “judicial authority” even it they were not specifically mentioned in legislation or international agreements.
This point of law had not been simple to resolve, said Lord Phillips, and two of the justices, Lady Hale and Lord Mance, had disagreed with the decision.
But Dinah Rose immediately indicated she could challenge the judgement saying that it relied on a 1969 convention relating to how treaties should be implemented. She said this convention had not been raised during the hearing.
In a statement, the Supreme Court said: “Following this morning’s judgment by the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom in Assange v The Swedish Prosecution Authority, Ms Rose has indicated that she may make an application to re-open the court’s decision.
“Ms Rose suggested that the majority of the court appear to have based their decision on the interpretation of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, on which no argument was heard and no opportunity of making submission was given.
“The Supreme Court has granted Ms Rose 14 days to make such an application. If she decides to do so, the justices will then decide whether to re-open the appeal and accept further submissions either verbally through a further hearing, or on paper on the matter.”
The decision to stay the extradition order means that it cannot become active until 13 June – but it would be further delayed were there to be additional submissions.
Julian Assange’s Wikileaks website published material from leaked diplomatic cables embarrassing several governments.
Prev12Page 2 of 2