Friday, July 12, 2013

NSA Leaker Meets With Human Rights Groups in Russia  
By Susan Duclos

The first picture is available of Edward Snowden, the NSA whistle-blower who exposed the extent of domestic and international spying being conducted by the Obama administration, is meeting with members of a variety of human rights organizations, such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Transparency International and an official with the United Nations High Commissioners for Refugees.

Snowden has also requested temporary asylum from Russia, who has already stated they would not hand him over to the U.S., who has charged Snowden with espionage. The asylum request is an attempt to give Snowden, who has been stuck in limbo in the Moscow airport for weeks, a level of freedom to travel to embassies with the ultimate goal of escaping the U.S. authorities to live in a country that is willing to offer him a permanent safe haven.

Snowden has also issued a statement, via Wikileaks, saying "Hello. My name is Ed Snowden. A little over one month ago, I had family, a home in paradise, and I lived in great comfort. I also had the capability without any warrant to search for, seize, and read your communications. Anyone’s communications at any time. That is the power to change people’s fates.

It is also a serious violation of the law. The 4th and 5th Amendments to the Constitution of my country, Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and numerous statutes and treaties forbid such systems of massive, pervasive surveillance. While the US Constitution marks these programs as illegal, my government argues that secret court rulings, which the world is not permitted to see, somehow legitimize an illegal affair. These rulings simply corrupt the most basic notion of justice – that it must be seen to be done. The immoral cannot be made moral through the use of secret law.

I believe in the principle declared at Nuremberg in 1945: "Individuals have international duties which transcend the national obligations of obedience. Therefore individual citizens have the duty to violate domestic laws to prevent crimes against peace and humanity from occurring."

Accordingly, I did what I believed right and began a campaign to correct this wrongdoing. I did not seek to enrich myself. I did not seek to sell US secrets. I did not partner with any foreign government to guarantee my safety. Instead, I took what I knew to the public, so what affects all of us can be discussed by all of us in the light of day, and I asked the world for justice.

That moral decision to tell the public about spying that affects all of us has been costly, but it was the right thing to do and I have no regrets."
Full statement here.


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