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Ecuador cools on Edward Snowden asylum as Assange frustration grows

 
 
Reply Fri 28 Jun, 2013 11:39 pm
Ecuador cools on Edward Snowden asylum as Assange frustration grows

President Correa revokes Snowden's temporary travel document amid concerns WikiLeaks founder is 'running the show'

President Correa declared that the safe conduct pass issued by Ecuador's London consul – in collaboration with Assange – was unauthorised.

The plan to spirit the surveillance whistleblower Edward Snowden to sanctuary in Latin America appeared to be unravelling on Friday, amid tension between Ecuador's government and Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks.

President Rafael Correa halted an effort to help Snowden leave Russia amid concern Assange was usurping the role of the Ecuadoran government, according to leaked diplomatic correspondence published on Friday.

Amid signs Quito was cooling with Snowden and irritated with Assange, Correa declared invalid a temporary travel document which could have helped extract Snowden from his reported location in Moscow.

Correa declared that the safe conduct pass issued by Ecuador's London consul – in collaboration with Assange – was unauthorised, after other Ecuadorean diplomats privately said the WikiLeaks founder could be perceived as "running the show".

According to the correspondence, which was obtained by the Spanish-language broadcaster Univision and shared with the Wall Street Journal, divisions over Assange have roiled Ecuador's government.

Ecuador's ambassador to the US, Nathalie Cely, told presidential spokesman Fernando Alvarado that Quito's role in the drama was being overshadowed by the WikiLeaks founder, who has sheltered in Ecuador's London embassy for the past year to avoid extradition.

"I suggest talking to Assange to better control the communications. From outside, [Assange] appears to be running the show."

Earlier this week a senior foreign diplomat in Quito told the Guardian that some – though not all – factions in the government were annoyed with what they saw as Assange grandstanding.

In a message attributed to Assange sent to Ecuador's foreign minister, Ricardo Patiño, and other top officials, the WikiLeaks founder apologised "if we have unwittingly [caused] Ecuador discomfort in the Snowden matter." The note continued: "There is a fog of war due to the rapid nature of events. If similar events arise you can be assured that they do not originate in any lack of respect or concern for Ecuador or its government."

Assange appears to have had a strong role in obtaining the travel document for Snowden, dated 22 June which bore the printed name, but not signature, of the London consul, Fidel Narvaez, a confidante. By mid-week Narvaez was reportedly in Moscow.

The document could have helped Snowden, whose US passport has been revoked, leave the transit lounge of Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport where he has reportedly holed up since fleeing Hong Kong last weekend.

On Thursday, Correa, who previously has hailed Snowden for exposing US spying, and has earned kudos for defying Washington pressure over the affair, reduced Snowden's chances of making it to Quito.

At a press conference the president declared the travel document invalid and said Ecuador would not consider an asylum request unless Snowden reached Ecuadorean territory, an increasingly remote prospect.

"The situation of Mr Snowden is a complex situation and we don't know how he will solve it."
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/28/edward-snowden-ecuador-julian-assange
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Moment-in-Time
 
  0  
Reply Sat 29 Jun, 2013 05:45 am
@Moment-in-Time,
Quote:

NSA leaker's dad says son would return to US

* AP foreign, Saturday June 29 2013

MATTHEW LEE

Associated Press= WASHINGTON (AP) — The father of NSA leaker Edward Snowden acknowledged Friday that his son broke the law but said he doesn't think he committed treason, as the Obama administration renewed its calls to Russia to expel Snowden so he can be tried under the Espionage Act.

Meanwhile, Ecuadorean officials say Russian authorities have stymied the country's efforts to approve a political asylum application from the former National Security Agency systems analyst, according to government officials with direct knowledge of the case. Their accounts further complicate the already murky understanding of his current status.

In conceding his son's guilt, Snowden's father, Lonnie Snowden, told NBC's "Today" show that his lawyer had informed Attorney General Eric Holder that he believes his son would voluntarily return to the United States if the Justice Department promises not to hold him before trial and not subject him to a gag order.

"If folks want to classify him as a traitor, in fact, he has betrayed his government. But I don't believe that he's betrayed the people of the United States," Lonnie Snowden said. The elder Snowden hasn't spoken to his son since April, but he said he believes he's being manipulated by people at WikiLeaks. The anti-secrecy group has been trying to help Edward Snowden gain asylum.

"I don't want to put him in peril, but I am concerned about those who surround him," Lonnie Snowden told NBC. "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."

Lonnie Snowden declined to comment when The Associated Press reached him Friday.

U.S. officials said their outreach to Russia, Ecuador and other countries where Snowden might travel to or seek refuge is ongoing.

"We continue to be in touch, via diplomatic and law enforcement channels, with countries through which Mr. Snowden might transit or that could serve as a final destination, also in touch, clearly, with the Russian authorities," State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell told reporters. "We're advising governments that Mr. Snowden is wanted on felony charges and should not be allowed to proceed any further, other than necessary to return to the United States. So we continue to make that active case through diplomatic and law enforcement channels."

Ventrell said the U.S. message to Russia has been consistent.

"We don't want this to negatively impact bilateral relations. It's understandable that there are some issues raised by this, but from our perspective, based on our cooperative history of law enforcement, and especially since the Boston bombings, that there's certainly a basis for expelling Mr. Snowden," he said, citing "the status of his travel documents and the pending charges against him."

The State Department revoked Snowden's visa last weekend.

Ecuadorean officials have said publicly they cannot start considering Snowden's asylum request until he arrives either in Ecuador or in an Ecuadorean embassy.

Two government officials with direct knowledge of the negotiations said Ecuador had been making detailed plans to receive and host Snowden.

One of the officials said those plans had been thwarted by Russia's refusal to let Snowden leave or be picked up by Ecuadorean officials. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to discuss the case by name.

Snowden intended to travel from Moscow with the intention of going on to the Ecuadorean capital of Quito but after he was held up in the Moscow airport, Ecuador asked Russia to let him take a commercial flight to meet Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino in Vietnam or Singapore, where Patino was on a pre-planned official trip, in order to be taken back to Quito by Patino, the official told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to speak to the press.

The Russians rejected Ecuador's requests to let Snowden leave Moscow, or to let an Ecuadorean government plane pick him up there, the official said.

Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa told reporters on Thursday that Snowden was "in the hands of the authorities" in Russia.

But Russian authorities have said Snowden is outside Russian control in a transit area of the Moscow airport, which is technically not Russian territory.

Edward Snowden is charged with violating U.S. espionage laws for leaking information about NSA surveillance of Internet and telephone records to detect terrorist plots.


http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/feedarticle/10860663
ossobuco
 
  2  
Reply Sat 29 Jun, 2013 06:46 am
@Moment-in-Time,
Aha! I had read the second article yesterday, while not knowing about the first. Now it makes more sense to me that the father spoke up.
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contrex
 
  1  
Reply Sat 29 Jun, 2013 06:56 am
@Moment-in-Time,
Moment-in-Time wrote:
But Russian authorities have said Snowden is outside Russian control in a transit area of the Moscow airport, which is technically not Russian territory.


Technically... for administrative purposes a state can deem that for bona fide travellers, to enter certain areas like transit lounges is not to enter the state, but it is actually within the jurisdiction of the state if they want it to be. If it was not Snowden but a wanted Chechyen terrorist suspect, Putin's goons would have been in there in no time. Odd that the Russian government has caught a dose of "rule of law" just right now.
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 29 Jun, 2013 08:49 am
Ecuador is not a secure place in which to hide. Snowden would have had to live like a prisoner inside a fortress to avoid getting taken out of there.
Moment-in-Time
 
  1  
Reply Sat 29 Jun, 2013 12:33 pm
@edgarblythe,
Quote:
Ecuador is not a secure place in which to hide. Snowden would have had to live like a prisoner inside a fortress to avoid getting taken out of there.


Yes, I recall reading an earlier post by you describing how the US had grabbed someone in Ecuador. I also heard a couple of days ago an expert in the field of tracking down whistle blowers say "the future for Edward Snowden is not bright" and it would be quite easy to snatch Snowden once he's in Ecuador.

The recent news regarding Ecuador and Moscow tend to be confusing with Ecuador gesturing Wikileaks founder Assange is trying to take control and the necessary papers to enter Ecuador has not been authorized. Moscow sending ambivalent signals they might refuse to allow Snowden to leave the protected Moscow enclosure, a subtle hint they might be more compliant with the US request. I am really interested now especially with Snowden's father saying he might return voluntarily if he's not put in jail or put under a gag order, yet the father claims he hasn't spoken to his son since April. This is really Weird.

Today in the Guardian there was an article by Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who first reported the Edward Snowden scenario. He says he was called by two reporters from competing newspapers about things (so-called corruption) that had happened in his past, and the journalist thinks he is now the target of a smear campaign.

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Moment-in-Time
 
  1  
Reply Sat 29 Jun, 2013 01:06 pm
@contrex,
Quote:

Moment-in-Time wrote:

But Russian authorities have said Snowden is outside Russian control in a transit area of the Moscow airport, which is technically not Russian territory.




Technically... for administrative purposes a state can deem that for bona fide travellers, to enter certain areas like transit lounges is not to enter the state, but it is actually within the jurisdiction of the state if they want it to be. If it was not Snowden but a wanted Chechyen terrorist suspect, Putin's goons would have been in there in no time. Odd that the Russian government has caught a dose of "rule of law" just right now.


Oh yes, Contrex, I agree with you 100%. I realize technically if Putin wanted to apply pressure in that area of enclosure they very well could; this is similar to Hong Kong which is autonomous but in very serious situations like the Snowden scenario, I don't doubt mainland China had the final word on the release of the betrayer, Edward Snowden. It was the article I posted which implied Russia was not in charge of that area.
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