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How the US tried to render Edward Snowden – with Denmark’s cooperation

Denmark has confirmed that it allowed its airspace to be used for a US government jet, previously implicated in expedition operations, which was intended for Edward Snowden.

The US operation was first revealed in June 2014 when Duncan Campbell wrote that a private Gulfstream jet with tail number N977GA had taken off from an airport near Washington, on an unconventional flight path, on the same evening Edward Snowden arrived in Moscow. On arrival at Sheremetyevo Airport, Snowden found that his passport had been cancelled by the US Government, which resulted in his being forced to stay in the airport for 40 days until he was granted asylum in Russia.

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CITIZENFOUR wins Oscar for Best Documentary

Laura Poitras’ documentary about Edward Snowden, CITIZENFOUR, was awarded an Oscar at the Academy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles on 22 February 2014.

In her acceptance speech, standing alongside Glenn Greenwald and Edward Snowden’s girlfriend Lindsay Mills, Laura Poitras paid tribute to Edward Snowden:

The disclosures that Edward Snowden revealed don’t only expose the threat to our privacy but to our democracy itself. When the most important decisions being made that affect all of us are being made in secret, we lose our ability to control. Thank you to Edward Snowden for his courage and to the many other whistleblowers. I share this with Glenn Greenwald and the other journalists that are exposing truth.

Snowden himself released a statement via the ACLU:

When Laura Poitras asked me if she could film our encounters, I was extremely reluctant. I’m grateful that I allowed her to persuade me. The result is a brave and brilliant film that deserves the honor and recognition it has received. My hope is that this award will encourage more people to see the film and be inspired by its message that ordinary citizens, working together, can change the world.

Courage, the organisation that runs Edward Snowden’s defence fund and this website, also released a statement, which emphasises the “dangerous gap in protections for whistleblowers” demonstrated in the film.

The Courage Foundation is delighted that CITIZENFOUR has been awarded the Oscar for the Best Documentary Feature of 2014.

The film shows that after journalists left Edward Snowden in Hong Kong, awaiting the United States’ charges and extradition request, Snowden relied on WikiLeaks to secure him asylum. As Laura Poitras’ film depicts, Snowden is now safe, living comfortably with his girlfriend in Moscow, but the film demonstrates the dangerous gap in protections for whistleblowers. WikiLeaks’ rescue – and the need it demonstrated – was the inception of Courage, devoted to providing protections, defence and safety nets for whistleblowers in the highest-risk situations, when others can’t or won’t help.

Courage, which hosts Edward Snowden’s only official defence fund, is establishing international networks ready to provide future Snowdens with logistical and legal help, in addition to assisting journalistic sources at risk before the investigation stage. But we need your help. Fighting legal battles against the most powerful governments in the world is expensive, yet essential. Courage’s Acting Director Sarah Harrison said: “Governments are ramping up their efforts to persecute those who expose the truth, and we must do the same if we’re going to keep our truth-tellers safe. Donate to Courage to ensure we are there when we are needed most.”

Donate to Courage today to contribute to the frontline of defence for future Snowdens: https://couragefound.org/donate
Further information: https://couragefound.org

Edward Snowden speaks at ACLU Hawaii conference

On Saturday, 14 February, Edward Snowden participated in ACLU Hawaii’s First Amendment Conference by videolink from Moscow. Ben Wizner, Edward Snowden’s ACLU lawyer, also participated in the event.

Video of the event follows below; a full recap is available at civilbeat.com

Edward Snowden wins Stuttgart Peace Prize

Awarded on 23 November 2014

Edward Snowden was awarded the twelfth Stuttgart Peace Prize at a ceremony on 23 November 2014. In a short acceptance speech broadcast live from Moscow, Edward Snowden said “If we want to live in a free society, we must defend our rights,” and that “government and society are built on trust.”

The Prize is awarded annually by German NGO Die AnStifter (The Instigators) for contributions to peace, justice and solidarity. All those who donate to the organisation eligible to vote on the winner of the prize.

WikiLeaks: Statement on Snowden’s successful Russian asylum bid

Originally posted 1 August 2013, 16:00 UTC on WikiLeaks

Today, Thursday 1st August at 15:50 MSK, Edward Snowden was granted temporary asylum in Russia. He left Sheremetyevo airport in Moscow with WikiLeaks staffer and legal advisor Sarah Harrison who has accompanied him during his 39 day stay in the transit zone and continues to do so. Ms Harrison has remained with Mr Snowden at all times to protect his safety and security, including during his exit from Hong Kong. They departed from the airport together in a taxi and are headed to a secure, confidential place.

On 16th July Mr Snowden made a request for temporary asylum to Russia. Despite the ongoing pressure from the United States, which has been trying to interfere with this sovereign process in violation of the UN Protocol on the Rights of Refugees, Russia has done the right thing and granted Mr Snowden temporary asylum. The certificate of temporary asylum by the Russian Federation lasts for one year and affords Mr Snowden the right to live in and travel around Russia, where he can now plan his next steps in safety. On receiving his asylum certificate Mr Snowden said: “Over the past eight weeks we have seen the Obama administration show no respect for international or domestic law, but in the end the law is winning. I thank the Russian Federation for granting me asylum in accordance with its laws and international obligations.”

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Statement by Edward Snowden to human rights groups at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport

Originally posted Friday 12 July, 15:00 UTC on WikiLeaks. The introduction is written by WikiLeaks.

Edward Joseph Snowden delivered a statement to human rights organizations and individuals at Sheremetyevo airport at 5pm Moscow time today, Friday 12th July. The meeting lasted 45 minutes. The human rights organizations included Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch and were given the opportunity afterwards to ask Mr Snowden questions. The Human Rights Watch representative used this opportunity to tell Mr Snowden that on her way to the airport she had received a call from the US Ambassador to Russia, who asked her to relay to Mr Snowden that the US Government does not categorise Mr Snowden as a whistleblower and that he has broken United States law. This further proves the United States Government’s persecution of Mr Snowden and therefore that his right to seek and accept asylum should be upheld. Seated to the left of Mr Snowden was Sarah Harrison, a legal advisor in this matter from WikiLeaks and to Mr Snowden’s right, a translator.

Transcript of Edward Joseph Snowden statement, given at 5pm Moscow time on Friday 12th July 2013 (Transcript corrected to delivery):

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.

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Statement from Edward Snowden in Moscow

Originally posted Monday 1 July, 21:40 UTC on WikiLeaks

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.

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