[QODLink]
Europe

Snowden 'likely' to pick Venezuela for asylum

Journalist Glenn Greenwald says whistleblower probably bound for nation with more leverage in "international affairs".

Last Modified: 10 Jul 2013 03:34
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Greenwald reported Snowden's leak on June 5 and is in contact with the whistleblower [Reuters]

US spying whistleblower Edward Snowden is likely to accept asylum in Venezuela to escape prosecution in his home country, according to the journalist who first published the documents he leaked.

In an interview after speaking to Snowden online, The Guardian's Glenn Greenwald said Venezuela is the most likely of several Latin American countries to guarantee safe passage for Snowden, especially as the US pressures other nations not to take him.

Nicaragua and Bolivia have also said they would accept Snowden but Venezuela is better poised "to get him safely from Moscow to Latin America and to protect him once he's there," Greenwald said.

"They're a bigger country, a stronger country and a richer country with more leverage in international affairs," said Greenwald.

In limbo

Snowden has reportedly been stuck in the transit area of a Moscow airport for more than two weeks, after flying from Hong Kong after authorities there refused to hand him over to US authorities.

Greenwald said, however, that a resolution to the crisis is still unclear and could take "days or hours or weeks".

"With no direct flights between Moscow and Caracas, Greenwald said Snowden's challenge would be finding safe passage to Venezuela.

"Figuring out how to get to the country that has offered him asylum without the rogue or lawless empire that has proven itself willing to engage in rogue behaviour to prevent him physically from getting there, being able to stop him. That is the challenge," he said.

The reporter also said recent contact with Snowden leads him to believe that the trove of documents that the whistleblower took from the US National Security Agency remains safely out of the hands of any foreign governments.

Snowden has revealed documents relating to huge covert US and UK government programmes that collect information on tens of millions of private phone calls and internet communications every day.

The governments say what they are doing is legal, and in the interest of national security.

Listening Post: Shooting the messenger?

Meanwhile, WikiLeaks, on its own Twitter feed, said that states involved in deciding an asylum destination for Snowden "will make the announcement if and when the appropriate time comes."

Wikileaks later said: "Tomorrow the first phase of Edward Snowden's 'Flight of Liberty' campaign will be launched. Follow for further details."

The group did not immediately provide any further information.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said on Friday that he had decided to offer the 30-year-old American asylum, but his government confirmed it had heard nothing back so far.

"He has to be on Venezuelan territory ... The reality is that he is trapped in the airport's transit zone," Foreign Minister Elias Jaua said in Caracas on Tuesday.

Nicaragua and Bolivia also have said they would take in Snowden, who has appealed to about 20 countries for asylum

506

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Swathes of the British electorate continue to show discontent with all things European, including immigration.
Astronomers have captured images of primordial galaxies that helped light up the cosmos after the Big Bang.
Critics assail British photographer's portrayal of indigenous people, but he says he's highlighting their plight.
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
Featured
No one convicted after 58 people gunned down in cold blood in 2009 in the country's worst political mass killing.
While hosting the World Internet Conference, China tries Tiananmen activist for leaking 'state secrets' to US website.
Once staunchly anti-immigrant, some observers say the conservative US state could lead the way in documenting migrants.
NGOs say women without formal documentation are being imprisoned after giving birth in Malaysia.
Public stripping and assault of woman and rival protests thereafter highlight Kenya's gender-relations divide.