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Entries in Edward Snowden (8)

Sunday
Jul072013

Why Are Latin American Countries Saying Yes to Snowden?

iStockphoto(NEW YORK) -- The presidents of Nicaragua, Venezuela and Bolivia have publicly expressed interest in granting asylum to former CIA analyst Edward Snowden who is wanted by the United States on charges of revealing classified government information.

On Friday WikiLeaks, the organization that publishes private, and often top secret, information from anonymous sources, announced in a post on Twitter that Snowden "applied to another six countries for asylum." The tweet came after an earlier announcement that claimed Snowden had made similar applications to 21 nations last week.

Out of a total of at least 27 asylum requests only three countries said yes. They all happen to be Latin American countries.

"We have decided to offer humanitarian asylum to the American Edward Snowden to protect him from the persecution being unleashed by the world's most powerful empire,'' said Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in a speech at a parade commemorating Venezuela's July 5 independence day.

"He is a young man who has told the truth, in the spirit of rebellion, about the United States spying on the whole world," Maduro went on to say.

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega also said his country would receive Snowden if "circumstances permit."

"We are an open country, respectful of the right of asylum, and it's clear that if circumstances permit, we would gladly receive Snowden and give him asylum in Nicaragua," Ortega said during a speech in the Nicaraguan capital Managua, according to Reuters.

On Saturday, Bolivian President Evo Morales became the latest Latin American leader to say Snowden is welcomed in his country.

Morales said his asylum announcement is a sign of protest against the U.S. and European nations because they rerouted his plane home from Moscow because of suspicion Snowden on board.

Speaking about Snowden, Morales said, "I want to tell Europeans and North Americans that as just protest, we will now give asylum to the North American pursued by his countrymen. We do not have any fear," the president said in Spanish at a public appearance on Saturday.

The plane incident changed the Latin American nations' position on Snowden, Gregory Weeks, director of Latin American studies at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte told Bloomberg.com.

"Now Maduro feels he has a chance to establish himself as a leader who responds when U.S. imperialism exerts itself over the region," Weeks said. "For Maduro, the best case scenario would be if Snowden never comes. That way he can say that he is fighting the U.S. without actually having to do it."

León Krauze, a frequent contributor to ABC News/Univision and news anchor at Los Angeles' Univision station KMEX, says the Latin American presidents' announcements are "politically convenient and go with a deep rooted tradition in Latin America."

"Obviously, granting asylum for Snowden is a symbolic gesture and a way of playing on the anti-American tradition from Latin America's left," says Krauze.

"To antagonize the United States is quite useful as a political tool in Latin America in particular; it's rooted in understandable resentment and political pragmatism," Krauze went on to say. "Fidel Castro has used it for fifty-plus years, Chavez used it quite effectively, as well." Krauze said.

"Obviously the governments of Bolivia, Venezuela and Nicaragua have this ideologic coincidence of being anti-American, at least in rhetoric, and it is almost part of their mission," Krauze said.

According to WikiLeaks, asylum requests were made to a number of countries including Austria, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Cuba, Finland, France, Germany, India, Italy, Ireland, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Nicaragua, Norway, Poland, Russia, Spain, the Swiss Confederation and Venezuela.

Unless Snowden can travel to Venezuela, Bolivia or Nicaragua on a private flight that reportedly would cost upwards of $200,000, he will have to make a connection in Cuba, involving yet another Latin American country.

U.S. officials told ABC News last week they believe the Cubans want nothing to do with Snowden. As evidence, they pointed to the fact that Snowden failed to board previous flights to Cuba, when safe haven in Ecuador appeared to be an option.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Jul062013

Bolivian President Evo Morales Makes Asylum Offer to Edward Snowden

AIZAR RALDES/AFP/GettyImages(SUCRE, Bolivia) -- Bolivia has joined the ranks of South American countries offering refuge to NSA leaker Edward Snowden.

Bolivian President Evo Morales said Saturday that Snowden was welcome in his country.

Morales said he was making the offer as a protest against the United States and European nations he accused of blocking his flight home from a Moscow summit because of suspicions that Snowden might have been aboard his plane.

Federal authorities last month filed espionage charges against Snowden, a former National Security Agency contractor accused of disclosing secret anti-terrorism programs run by the U.S. government.

Bolivia is the third country to offer Snowden asylum. Both Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega also extended the offer to Snowden on Friday.

"I have decided to offer humanitarian asylum to the young American Edward Snowden," Maduro said Friday evening, adding that he was doing so, "in the name of the dignity of Latin America."

"He can come and live here, away from the persecution of American imperialism," Maduro said.
Just an hour earlier, Nicaragua had offered what appeared to be conditional asylum.

"If the circumstances permit it, we would gladly receive Snowden here and would grant him asylum here," Ortega said, though he did not elaborate on what those circumstances would be.

It is unclear whether Morales' offer was in response to a formal petition for asylum that Snowden had submitted.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Jul062013

Can Snowden Get to Venezuela or Nicaragua for Asylum?

The Guardian via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Venezuela and Nicaragua reportedly are prepared to throw Edward Snowden a lifeline -- if he can get there.

The accused NSA leaker has been stuck in the transit area of Moscow's Sheremedevo International Airport for nearly two weeks, with no way to enter Russia, no valid U.S. passport to travel on because the United States revoked it, and no route to safe haven that avoids a U.S. extradition treaty.

Most of his applications for asylum in more than two dozen countries have been rejected, but now he may have options.

"I have decided to offer humanitarian asylum to the young American Edward Snowden," Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro said Friday evening, adding that he was doing so, "in the name of the dignity of Latin America."

"He can come and live here, away from the persecution of American imperialism," Maduro said.
Just an hour earlier, Nicaragua offered what appeared to be conditional asylum.

"If the circumstances permit it, we would gladly receive Snowden here and would grant him asylum here," Nicaragua's President Daniel Ortega said on Friday.

He did not elaborate on what those circumstances would be.

Bolivia's President Evo Morales, whose plane was forced to land in Austria and searched after rumors swirled that Snowden was on board earlier this week, said on Wednesday that his country would consider giving Snowden asylum, as well.

Federal authorities last month filed espionage charges against Snowden, a former National Security Agency contractor accused of disclosing secret anti-terrorism programs run by the U.S. government.

But how could Snowden get Latin America from Moscow, where he traveled after originally hiding out in Hong Kong?

The only "safe" commercial flight across the Atlantic -- one that would avoid U.S. extradition treaties -- is to Cuba. Cuba has an extradition treaty from 1904, but the Castro government could chose to ignore it.
From Havana, Snowden could connect to Caracas, Venezuela, or Managua, Nicaragua.

If he could get a valid travel document from either country in time, Snowden could take Saturday's 2:05 p.m. flight to Cuba. There are two connecting flights to Caracas on Sunday.

Getting to Managua commercially is more difficult. There's only one non-stop flight from Cuba and it leaves Saturday morning, so Snowden would have to cool his heels in Cuba for an entire week if he left Moscow on the next flight.

The other question is: Will Cuba let Snowden transit there? U.S. officials have told ABC News they believe the Cubans want nothing to do with Snowden. As evidence, they pointed to the fact that Snowden failed to board previous flights to Cuba, when safe haven in Ecuador appeared to be an option.

There is also the private-flight option. Reports last week quoted the cost of a private plane to Ecuador to be more than $200,000 on one of the few private jets that could make the trip without refueling. Similar flights to Venezuela or Nicaragua would presumably be only a bit less.

But even if he does get on either of those flights, there is also the question of air space -- especially after the incident involving the Bolivian president's plane. Would European countries or the United States deny a plane carrying Snowden to fly over their territory or force it down?

The Bolivian president's situation was slightly different in that his plane needed to refuel somewhere in Europe before crossing the Atlantic, rather than just flying over.

President Obama last week dismissed suggestions the U.S. was prepared to force down a commercial flight carrying Snowden, saying, "No, I am not going to be scrambling jets to get a 29 year-old hacker."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jul052013

Presidents of Venezuela, Nicaragua Offer Asylum to Edward Snowden

Photo by The Guardian via Getty Images(MOSCOW) -- The presidents of Nicaragua and Venezuela have offered political asylum to fugitive Edward Snowden.

According to BBC News, Venezuela's Nicolas Maduro announced his willingness to accept Snowden in a speech on Venezuela's Independence Day.

"As head of state and government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, I have decided to offer humanitarian asylum to the young U.S. citizen Edward Snowden," Maduro said.

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega said that he would do the same "if circumstances permit," according to Agence France-Presse.

Snowden has reportedly asked 21 nations for asylum, however, the majority have rejected his requests. Snowden is believed to still be at an airport in Moscow, where he arrived last month.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Jun232013

Senator Accuses Putin of 'Aiding and Abetting Snowden's Escape'

Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., accused Russian President Vladimir Putin Sunday of “aiding and abetting” NSA leaker Edward Snowden’s escape from Hong Kong.

“What’s infuriating here is Prime Minister [sic] Putin of Russia aiding and abetting Snowden’s escape,” Schumer said on CNN’s State of the Union Sunday.

“The bottom line is very simple: Allies are supposed to treat each other in decent ways, and Putin always seems almost eager to put a finger in the eye of the United States, whether it is Syria, Iran and now, of course, with Snowden,” he said. “I think it’ll have serious consequences for the United States-Russia relationship.”

Schumer also questioned the involvement of Chinese officials in influencing Hong Kong’s decision to allow Snowden to leave despite an extradition request from the U.S.

“Well, first, very disappointing what Hong Kong has done. It remains to be seen how much influence Beijing had on Hong Kong. As you know, they coordinate their foreign policies. And I have a feeling the hand of Beijing was involved here,” Schumer said.

Hong Kong officials said Sunday that Snowden left Hong Kong on Sunday “on his own accord for a third country through a lawful and normal channel.”

The Hong Kong government said that the U.S. government’s extradition request “did not fully comply with the legal requirements under Hong Kong Law” and argued that there was “no legal basis to restrict Mr. Snowden from leaving Hong Kong.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Jun232013

NSA Leaker Edward Snowden Leaves Hong Kong

Photo by The Guardian via Getty Images(MOSCOW) -- Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who leaked classified documents has left Hong Kong.

The United States request for extradition of Snowden was apparently faulty, according to the Hong Kong Government. They say that there was no basis to prevent Snowden from boarding a plane en route to Moscow. ABC News Chief Political Correspondent George Stephanopoulus says Snowden will also be free from U.S. Grasp in Moscow.

According to BBC News, Snowden may fly to another country from Moscow, with Cuba and Ecuador as two potential destinations.

Reports say that Wikileaks assisted Snowden in his exit from Hong Kong.

Snowden was charged with theft of government property, unauthorized communication of national defense information and willful communication of classified communications intelligence in a criminal complaint that was unsealed on Friday.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Jun222013

U.S. Formally Seeking Extradition of Edward Snowden 

The Guardian via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Following Friday's filing of espionage charges against intelligence leaker Edward Snowden, the United States announced it was formally seeking extradition from authorities in Hong Kong.

The extradition, based on the criminal complaint filed in the Eastern District of Virginia and in accordance with the US/ Hong Kong Agreement for the Surrender of Fugitive Offenders, may prove to be a complicated process. Hong Kong operates under its own legal system but the Chinese government in Beijing still maintains a degree of authority and could intervene, either behind the scenes or even publicly.

Before a formal extradition can even begin, Snowden needs to be arrested. Once arrested, Snowden can seek asylum, and a lengthy appeals process could go all the way up to the high court in Hong Kong.

"China will want this process to play out in Hong Kong," said Ken Lieberthal, a senior fellow at Brookings Institution. "Where Beijing could intervene is, if Hong Kong decides to extradite, Snowden appeals, at the end of the day China can say do not extradite."

"Extradition can, of course, be a lengthy legal process,” a senior law enforcement source told ABC News. “But we are confident, based on the strong history of law enforcement cooperation between Hong Kong and the U.S., that at the end of that process, Hong Kong will extradite Snowden."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Jun152013

Protesters Take to Hong Kong Streets to Support NSA Leaker

Photo by The Guardian via Getty Images(HONG KONG) -- Protesters took to the streets in Hong Kong on Saturday to show their support for NSA leaker Edward Snowden and demand a "thorough explanation" of the secret surveillance program he exposed.

Roughly 200 people braved the rain to march to the U.S. consulate, chanting "Free Snowden" and "Arrest Obama." Others carried large posters with pictures under the headline "Big brother is watching you."

Outside the U.S. consulate, demonstrators blew their whistles saying they "were all whistle-blowers today," then handed over a letter to Consul General Steve Young, demanding an end to all surveillance of "innocent internet users" under the NSA program.

"The idea of mass surveillance not only violates the right to privacy and human dignity, but threatens the very fundamental human rights of freedom of thought, opinion, expression and association," the letter said.

Crowds at the rally were significantly smaller than the 1,000 people organizers expected, but Snowden has slowly been gaining public support since he flew to Hong Kong and exposed himself as the whistle-blower behind one of the biggest intelligence leaks in U.S. history.

Earlier this week, he told the South China Morning Post that the NSA had been hacking Chinese and Hong Kong computers since 2009, specifically targeting Chinese University, public officials, and students.

The interview raised alarm, and appears to have rallied support behind Snowden who called the surveillance program proof of "hypocrisy of the U.S. government."

A poll released by the same newspaper Saturday, showed one in two Hong Kongers believed their government should resist handing over Snowden, if Washington requested extradition.

"We demand the whole truth be disclosed by the U.S administration, and we demand an unconditional apology by Mr. Obama," said Albert Ho, a member of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong.

Snowden has said he fled to this city, because of its strong tradition of free speech, and its reputation for independence from western countries.

But the high-profile case comes amid increasing anxiety of Beijing's influence in Hong Kong's government. The city has its own rule of law and political system, but residents worry that independence is fading.

Demonstrator Chikwan Ho said the Snowden case would be a major test of Hong Kong's own freedoms.

"By standing up for Snowden, I also want to send a message that we need that kind of citizen in Hong Kong," demonstrator Chikwan Ho said. "Somebody who is watching our government to see if they are abusing power to control our lives."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio







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