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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 24, 2013
1:28 PM

Snowden’s Asylum

WASHINGTON - June 24 - MARJORIE COHN, marjorielegal at gmail.com, www.marjoriecohn.com
Professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and former president of the National Lawyers Guild, Cohn is also the author of The United States and Torture and Rules of Disengagement: The Politics and Honor of Military Dissent. She said today: “Since the United States is charging Edward Snowden under the Espionage Act, he has a well-founded fear of prosecution if he is returned to the U.S. Given the torture of Bradley Manning, who was kept in solitary confinement for nine months in Virginia, Snowden would also have a well-founded fear of persecution in the U.S. Thus Snowden can probably make a good case for political asylum in Ecuador. Ironically, the antagonistic policies the U.S. government maintains against Cuba and Venezuela will make those countries unsympathetic to a U.S. request for extradition of Snowden if he stops there on his way to Ecuador.”
 

NORMAN SOLOMON, solomonprogressive at gmail.com, normansolomon.com
Solomon is the founding director of the Institute for Public Accuracy and author of many books including War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death. His is the co-founder of RootsAction.org, whose petition titled, “Mr. President, Hands Off Edward Snowden,” has garnered over 20,000 signatures since last night. He spoke with RT yesterday about Snowden’s political asylum process. Solomon wrote a column today for the independent progressive news site Common Dreams titled, “The Pursuit of Edward Snowden: Washington in a Rage, Striving to Run the World.”

Said Solomon: “The same government that continues to expand its invasive dragnet of surveillance, all over the United States and the rest of the world, is now asserting its prerogative to drag Snowden back to the USA from anywhere on the planet. It’s not only about punishing him and discouraging other potential whistleblowers. Top U.S. officials are also determined to—quite literally—silence Snowden’s voice, as Bradley Manning’s voice has been nearly silenced behind prison walls. …

“Those at the top of the U.S. government insist that Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning have betrayed it. But that’s backward. Putting its money on vast secrecy and military violence instead of democracy, the government has betrayed Snowden and Manning and the rest of us.”

MARK WEISBROT, via Dan Beeton, beeton at cepr.net
Weisbrot is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, which just released a statement titled, “Ecuador or Another Country Should Grant Asylum to Snowden, CEPR Co-Director Says.” He has written extensively on Ecuador.

Weisbrot said: “It is important that everyone who believes in freedom to defend Ecuador from Washington’s threats, which are very likely if the Ecuadorean government grants asylum to Snowden. Other governments around the world – whose citizens’ rights have been violated by NSA surveillance overreach – should stand behind Ecuador if it chooses to grant Snowden asylum, as should NGO’s. To charge Snowden with espionage is a severe form of political persecution.

“There is good reason for other Latin American countries especially to express solidarity with Ecuador, since so many of them have been subject to U.S. government interference and hostility merely for pursuing alternative paths of economic development, governance and diplomacy than those desired by Washington.

“The Obama administration has prosecuted more than twice as many people under the Espionage Act than all previous presidents combined. This demonstrates – as do many of the details of these cases themselves – that the administration is applying the law arbitrarily in order to silence people who are exposing what are sometimes criminal and dangerous abuses. Ecuador would be right to see such actions as political persecution and therefore approve this request for asylum.”

See also: “U.S. Seemingly Unaware of Irony in Accusing Snowden of Spying” from the New Yorker, and “Obama’s crackdown views leaks as aiding enemies of U.S.” from McClatchy’s Washington Bureau.

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