Tag Archives | asylum

Why Snowden’s Passport Matters

Gov-us_passportWhen the State Department revoked Edward Snowden’s passport four months ago, the move was a reprisal from a surveillance-and-warfare state that operates largely in the shadows. Top officials in Washington were furious. Snowden had suddenly exposed what couldn’t stand the light of day, blowing the cover of the world’s Biggest Brother.

Cancelation of the passport wasn’t just an effort to prevent the whistleblower from getting to a country that might grant political asylum. It was also a declaration that the U.S. government can nullify the right to travel just as surely as it can nullify the right to privacy.

“Although I am convicted of nothing,” Snowden said in a July 1 statement after a week at a Moscow airport terminal, the U.S. government “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.… Read the rest

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United States Refusing To Extradite Bolivia’s Ex-President Facing Genocide Charges

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Compare and contrast with other ongoing asylum controversies. Via the Guardian, Glenn Greenwald writes:

In October 2003, the intensely pro-US president of Bolivia, Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada, sent his security forces to suppress growing popular protests against the government’s energy and globalization policies.

Using high-powered rifles and machine guns, his military forces killed 67 men, women and children, and injured 400 more, almost all of whom were poor and from the nation’s indigenous Aymara communities. Dozens of protesters had been killed by government forces in the prior months when troops were sent to suppress them.

The resulting outrage drove Sanchez de Lozada from office and then into exile in the United States, where he was welcomed by his close allies in the Bush administration. He has lived under a shield of asylum in the US ever since.

The Bolivians, however, have never stopped attempting to bring their former leader to justice for ordering the killing of indigenous peaceful protesters in cold blood (as Time Magazine put it: “according to witnesses, the military fired indiscriminately and without warning in El Alto neighborhoods”).

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Statement from Edward Snowden in Moscow: “In the end the Obama administration is not afraid of whistleblowers like me,… No, the Obama administration is afraid of you.”

via wikileaks

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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.

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Officials Claim Ecuador Will Grant Julian Assange Asylum

The Ecuadorian president has denied the rumors, saying that his government’s decision will not be cemented until the end of the week, but this seems like a positive development. The Guardian reports:

Ecuador’s president, Rafael Correa, has agreed to grant Julian Assange asylum, officials within Ecuador’s government have said. The WikiLeaks founder has been holed up at Ecuador’s London embassy since 19 June, when he officially requested political asylum.

“Ecuador will grant asylum to Julian Assange,” said an official in the Ecuadorean capital, Quito, who is familiar with the government discussions.

On Monday, Correa told state-run ECTV that he would decide this week whether to grant asylum to Assange. Correa said a large amount of material about international law had to be examined to make a responsible, informed decision.

It remains unclear if Assange will be allowed to leave Britain and fly to Ecuador, or amounts to little more than a symbolic gesture.

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Ecuador To Decide Whether To Grant Political Asylum To Julian Assange

Julian Assange has spent the past two days hidden inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London, with British authorities poised to arrest him the moment he steps out. Ecuador’s president may grant him refuge in South America, out of concern that Assange may be extradited to the United States and put to death. How will it all end?? Via the BBC:

Ecuador is examining the asylum case of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, the country’s president has said. Mr Assange is at the country’s London embassy, where he is seeking diplomatic asylum to prevent him being sent to Sweden to answer accusations of rape and assault, which he denies. Ecuador’s government has said it will make a decision on Mr Assange shortly.

Mr Assange, 40, spent a second night at the embassy on Wednesday. Mr Assange fears if he is sent to Sweden it could lead to him being sent to the United States to face charges over Wikileaks, for which he could face the death penalty.

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