Edward Snowden, who has worked at the National Security Agency for the past four years in Hawaii, told The Guardian newspaper about clandestine surveillance programs that the government is conducting with its own citizens as the targets
Edward Snowden, who has worked at the National Security Agency for the past four years in Hawaii, speaking during an interview with The Guardian newspaper at an undisclosed location in Hong Kong, June 6, 2013.

Transcript of Edward Joseph Snowden statement, given at 5pm Moscow time on Friday 12th July 2013, after meeting with human rights organizations. 

Hello. My name is Ed Snowden. A little over one month ago, I had family, a home in paradise (Hawaii), 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.

Thank you.

Comments

comments

6 COMMENTS

  1. When I first heard about Mr. Snowden's dilemna I thought he was a fool but after reading this I think he is a hero. It seems as if more rights have been taken away from the people within the last 6 years.

    Stupid laws are being passed for example it's against the law to fee birds in public excessivley and no smoking at city bus stops, beach's and parks. Good luck enforcing that, they can't even enforce people using cell phones in cars.

    Fix the water, sewer lines and roads, concentrate on our infrastructure, quit giving our money to foreign governments, do things that make sense.

    The Constitution is being ignored by Government especially the right to bear arms. Rights are being taken away from the law abiding citizen. Do criminals obey the law?

    We have to remember to take what is being presented to us in the media with a grain of salt and take all facts into account before forming an opinion.

  2. If he is a hero, then B.O. is king~~!
    As KHON2 reports' NSA leaker charged with espionage, theft Disclosure of the criminal complaint came as President Barack Obama held his first meeting with five members of the obscure Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board as his intelligence chief sought ways to help Americans understand more about sweeping government surveillance efforts exposed by Snowden. They met with Obama for an hour in the White House Situation Room, questioning the president on two NSA programs that have stoked controversy…"
    More at; http://www.khon2.com/2013/06/21/nsa-leaker-charge….

  3. it looks like the more I read about what the NSA has been secretly doingdomestically, not only spying illegally,but also using personal info they dredge up to blackmail politicians,senior military and civilian government officials,possibly including the president and above the law with secret court orders,which in itself is going against what our country is supposed to be about.if it wasn't for whistleblowers we would have never really known the full criminal activities of agencies like NSA and even the IRS.

  4. I truly hope we'll get to the bottom of this whole snowden situation, and that he'll be able to return to the US safely, to his family and friends… A man this good doesnt deserve the treatment he;s getting at the moment.

  5. Unfortunately, I don;'t think Snowden will ever be able to return safely to the US. This conflict looks like it will be around for a long time and evena fter it will be solved there will still be dangerous for Snowden to return

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