Statement from Edward Snowden in Moscow
Monday July 1, 21:40 UTC
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 has 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
Note also Article 12:
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.
from German Nerdcore:
Shepard Fairey’s response (via the LA Times):
“I originally supported Obama vigorously because his proclaimed policy positions aligned with my beliefs. I have never been an unconditional Obama supporter or cheerleader, so I’m pleased to see people subvert my Obama images as a way to critique him and demonstrate the wide gap between some of his promises and actions. Subversion of well known symbols and images for social commentary has long been a technique in my repertoire, so I’m glad to see it in the work of others. I have even subverted my own Obama image in support of Occupy. There are no sacred cows, and I agree that Obama needs to be called out on an NSA program that over-reaches to the extreme and shouldn’t be secret. We live in a remix culture and remix is a valuable form of communication when the re-configuration makes a strong statement.”
Note that his more general remarks on the press and its socio-political functions epitomize Enlightenment values.
20 May Edward Snowden, an employee of defence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton at the National Security Agency, arrives in Hong Kong from Hawaii. He carries four laptop computers that enable him to gain access to some of the US government’s most highly-classified secrets.
1 June Guardian journalists Glenn Greenwald and Ewen MacAskill and documentary maker Laura Poitras fly from New York to Hong Kong. They meet Snowden in a Kowloon hotel after he identifies himself with a Rubik’s cube and begin a week of interviews with their source.
5 June The Guardian publishes its first exclusive based on Snowden’s leak, revealing a secret court order showing that the US government had forced the telecoms giant Verizon to hand over the phone records of millions of Americans.
6 June A second story reveals the existence of the previously undisclosed programme Prism, which internal NSA documents claim gives the agency “direct access” to data held by Google, Facebook, Apple and other US internet giants. The tech companies deny that they have set up “back door access” to their systems for the US government.
7 June Barack Obama defends the two programmes, saying they are overseen by the courts and Congress. Insisting that “the right balance” had been struck between security and privacy, he says: “You can’t have 100% security, and also then have 100% privacy and zero inconvenience.”
The Guardian reports that GCHQ has been able to see user communications data from the American internet companies, because it had access to Prism.
8 June Another of Snowden’s leaks reveals the existence of an internal NSA tool – Boundless Informant – that allows it to record and analyse where its data comes from, and raises questions about its repeated assurances to Congress that it cannot keep track of all the surveillance it performs on American communications.
9 June Snowden decides to go public. In a video interview he says: “I have no intention of hiding who I am because I know I have done nothing wrong.”
10 June Snowden checks out of his Hong Kong hotel.
12 June Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post publishes the first interview with Snowden since he revealed his identity. He says he intends to stay in the city until asked to leave and discloses that the NSA has been hacking into Hong Kong and Chinese computers since 2009.
14 June The Home Office instructs airlines not to allow Snowden to board any flights to the UK.
16 June The Guardian reports that GCHQ intercepted foreign politicians’ communications at the 2009 G20 summit.
20 June Top secret documents published by the Guardian show how US judges have signed off on broad orders allowing the NSA to make use of information “inadvertently” collected from domestic US communications without a warrant.
21 June A Guardian exclusive reveals that GCHQ has gained access to the network of cables which carry the world’s phone calls and internet traffic and is processing vast streams of sensitive personal information it shares with the NSA.
The US files espionage charges against Snowden and requests that Hong Kong detain him for extradition.
23 June Snowden leaves Hong Kong on a flight to Moscow. In a statement, the Hong Kong government says documents submitted by the US did not “fully comply with the legal requirements under Hong Kong law” and it had no legal basis to prevent him leaving.
“The individual responsible for one of the most significant leaks in US political history is Edward Snowden, a 29-year-old former technical assistant for the CIA and current employee of the defence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton. Snowden has been working at the National Security Agency for the last four years as an employee of various outside contractors, including Booz Allen and Dell.
“The Guardian, after several days of interviews, is revealing his identity at his request. From the moment he decided to disclose numerous top-secret documents to the public, he was determined not to opt for the protection of anonymity. “I have no intention of hiding who I am because I know I have done nothing wrong,” he said.
“Snowden will go down in history as one of America’s most consequential whistleblowers, alongside Daniel Ellsberg and Bradley Manning. He is responsible for handing over material from one of the world’s most secretive organisations – the NSA.”
“Civil liberties lawyers trying to hold the administration to account through the courts for its surveillance of phone calls and emails of American citizens have been repeatedly stymied by the government’s recourse to the “military and state secrets privilege”. The precedent, rarely used but devastating in its legal impact, allows the government to claim that it cannot be submitted to judicial oversight because to do so it would have to compromise national security.”
“The NSA access is part of a previously undisclosed program called PRISM, which allows officials to collect material including search history, the content of emails, file transfers and live chats, the document says.
“The Guardian has verified the authenticity of the document, a 41-slide PowerPoint presentation – classified as top secret with no distribution to foreign allies – which was apparently used to train intelligence operatives on the capabilities of the program. The document claims “collection directly from the servers” of major US service providers.”
“The National Security Agency is currently collecting the telephone records of millions of US customers of Verizon, one of America’s largest telecoms providers, under a top secret court order issued in April.
“The order, a copy of which has been obtained by the Guardian, requires Verizon on an “ongoing, daily basis” to give the NSA information on all telephone calls in its systems, both within the US and between the US and other countries.
“The document shows for the first time that under the Obama administration the communication records of millions of US citizens are being collected indiscriminately and in bulk – regardless of whether they are suspected of any wrongdoing.”