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.
Since that time, the government and intelligence services of the United States of America have attempted to make an example of me, a warning
to all others who might speak out as I have. I have been made stateless and hounded for my act of political expression. The United States
Government has placed me on no-fly lists. It demanded Hong Kong return me outside of the framework of its laws, in direct violation of the
principle of non-refoulement – the Law of Nations. It has threatened with sanctions countries who would stand up for my human rights and the
UN asylum system. It has even taken the unprecedented step of ordering military allies to ground a Latin American president’s plane in search
for a political refugee. These dangerous escalations represent a threat not just to the dignity of Latin America, but to the basic rights shared by
every person, every nation, to live free from persecution, and to seek and enjoy asylum.
Yet even in the face of this historically disproportionate aggression, countries around the world have offered support and asylum. These nations,
including Russia, Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua, and Ecuador have my gratitude and respect for being the first to stand against human rights
violations carried out by the powerful rather than the powerless. By refusing to compromise their principles in the face of intimidation, they have
earned the respect of the world. It is my intention to travel to each of these countries to extend my personal thanks to their people and leaders.
I announce today my formal acceptance of all offers of support or asylum I have been extended and all others that may be offered in the future.
With, for example, the grant of asylum provided by Venezuela’s President Maduro, my asylee status is now formal, and no state has a basis by
which to limit or interfere with my right to enjoy that asylum. As we have seen, however, some governments in Western European and North
American states have demonstrated a willingness to act outside the law, and this behavior persists today. This unlawful threat makes it
impossible for me to travel to Latin America and enjoy the asylum granted there in accordance with our shared rights.
This willingness by powerful states to act extra-legally represents a threat to all of us, and must not be allowed to succeed. Accordingly, I ask for
your assistance in requesting guarantees of safe passage from the relevant nations in securing my travel to Latin America, as well as requesting
asylum in Russia until such time as these states accede to law and my legal travel is permitted. I will be submitting my request to Russia today,
and hope it will be accepted favorably.
If you have any questions, I will answer what I can.
*Written (on 2013-07-12)*
WE GOT ANOTHER LETTER FROM EDVARD SNOWDEN
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. These are the old, bad tools of political
aggression. Their purpose is to frighten, not me, but those who would come after me.
For decades the United States of America has been one of the strongest defenders of the human right to seek asylum.
Sadly, this right, laid out and voted for by the U.S. in Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is now being rejected by the current government of my
country. The Obama administration has now adopted the strategy of using citizenship as a weapon.
Although I am convicted of nothing, it 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. The right to seek asylum.
In the end the Obama administration is not afraid of whistleblowers like me, Bradley Manning or Thomas Drake. We are stateless, imprisoned,
or powerless. No, the Obama administration is afraid of you. It is afraid of an informed, angry public demanding the constitutional government it
was promised — and it should be.
I am unbowed in my convictions and impressed at the efforts taken by so many.
Edward Joseph Snowden
Monday 1st July 2013