Vice-President Joe Biden has told Donald Trump to “grow up” and criticized his attacks on the intelligence community.
On January 6, Donald Trump will be briefed on allegations that Russia meddled in the US presidential election – claims he has cast doubt on.
Joe Biden said it was “absolutely mindless” for Donald Trump not to have faith in intelligence agencies.
Russia denies hacking alleged to have helped Donald Trump defeat Hillary Clinton.
On January 5, the president-elect questioned how intelligence agencies were confident about the alleged Russian hacking “if they never even requested an examination of the computer servers” belonging to the Democratic National Committee (DNC).
In an interview with the PBS, Donald Trump: “For a president not to have confidence in, not to be prepared to listen to, the myriad intelligence agencies, from defense intelligence to the CIA, is absolutely mindless.
“The idea that you may know more than the intelligence community knows – it’s like saying I know more about physics than my professor. I didn’t read the book, I just know I know more.”
When asked what he thought of Donald Trump’s regular attacks on Twitter, Joe Biden said: “Grow up Donald, grow up, time to be an adult, you’re president. Time to do something. Show us what you have.”
The VP went on to call Donald Trump “a good man”.
Joe Biden said he had read a US intelligence agencies report outlining Russian involvement, the details of which are starting to emerge in media.
According to the Washington Post and NBC News citing intelligence sources, agencies had intercepted communications in the aftermath of the election showing senior Russian government officials celebrating Donald Trump’s win over rival Hillary Clinton.
US authorities had also identified Russian actors who delivered stolen Democratic emails to the WikiLeaks website.
NBC News says the alleged Russian hacking targeted not just the DNC but also the White House, joint chiefs of staff, the department of state and large US corporations.
An unclassified version will be made public next week.
Joe Biden said the report clearly details “that the Russians did, as a matter of policy, attempt to affect and… discredit the US electoral process”.
He said the hacking was part of a systematic campaign to undermine Hillary Clinton.
Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager John Podesta was among those hacked on the DNC server.
On January 5, the Director of National Intelligence, Gen James Clapper, told a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the hack, and said the motive would be revealed next week.
President Barack Obama last week ordered the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats from the US over the alleged hacking. Russia has said it will not reciprocate.
Donald Trump has repeatedly rejected allegations that the Russian government hacked into the computers of John Podesta or the servers of the DNC.
On January 4, the president-elect repeated a suggestion that “a 14-year-old” may have been responsible for the breach.
On January 5, he said he was a “big fan” of intelligence agencies, after months of casting doubt on the Russian link, but later went on to raise questions over how the Democratic Party responded to the security breach.
Last week, Donald Trump said he would announce information about hacking “on Tuesday or Wednesday”, but no announcement came.
Donald Trump has backed Julian Assange in casting doubt on intelligence alleging Russian hacking the US election.
The WikiLeaks founder said Russia was not the source for the site’s mass leak of emails from the Democratic Party.
The president-elect has now backed that view in a tweet, writting: “Assange… said Russians did not give him the info!”
Donald Trump has repeatedly refused to accept the conclusions of the US intelligence community.
Several US agencies including the FBI and the CIA believe Russia directed hacks against the Democratic Party and the campaign of its presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
The information, released through WikiLeaks and other outlets, was intended to help Donald Trump win the election, say the FBI and CIA.
Image source RT
On January 3, Donald Trump said an intelligence briefing he was due to receive on the issue had been delayed.
“Perhaps more time needed to build a case. Very strange!” he wrote.
However, intelligence officials insisted there had been no delay in the briefing schedule.
In an interview with Fox News, Julian Assange repeated his claim that Russia was not behind the leak.
He also said a 14-year-old boy could have carried out one of the hacks, on the email account of Hillary Clinton’s aide, John Podesta.
In 2010, several leading Republican figures were calling for Julian Assange to be imprisoned after his website published thousands of embarrassing diplomatic cables leaked by former Army Pte. Chelsea Manning.
Donald Trump tweeted twice on January 4 in support of what Julian Assange said on Fox News.
However, the president-elect has previously been critical of the WikiLeaks organization.
When asked by a Fox News reporter in 2010 to comment on leaks, Donald Trump responded: “I think it’s disgraceful, I think there should be like death penalty or something.”
Donald Trump has made a fresh assault on America’s intelligence community.
The president-elect tweeted that an intelligence briefing he was due to receive on alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election – which is said to have benefited Donald Trump – had been delayed.
He wrote: “Perhaps more time needed to build a case. Very strange!”
However, intelligence officials insisted there had been no delay in the briefing schedule.
Image NBC News
Several intelligence agencies including the FBI and the CIA believe Russia directed hacks against the Democratic Party and the campaign of its presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, releasing embarrassing information through WikiLeaks and other outlets to help Donald Trump win the election.
The president-elect initially dismissed the claims as “ridiculous” but subsequently said he would meet US intelligence chiefs to be “updated on the facts of this situation”.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said once again on January 3 that Russia was not the source for the site’s mass leak of emails from the Democratic Party in the run-up to the US presidential election.
Meanwhile, Rex Tillerson has agreed he will cut all ties with Exxon Mobil and comply with conflict-of-interest requirements.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is being questioning by Sweden’s chief prosecutor about a rape allegation at the Ecuadorean embassy in London.
Julian Assange denies the allegation that he raped a Swedish woman in 2010.
Prosecutor Ingrid Isgren is listening as an Ecuadorean prosecutor puts the questions to Julian Assange.
The WkiLeaks founder took refuge in the embassy four years ago, fearing extradition. He says the relation was consensual and believes the allegations are politically motivated.
The accusations relate to a visit Julian Assange made to Stockholm in August 2010 to give a lecture.
Julian Assange has refused to travel to Sweden for questioning citing concerns he would be extradited to the US over WikiLeaks’ release of 500,000 secret military files on the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.
However, lawyers argue that his extradition from Sweden would be even less likely than from the UK.
He is accused of raping a woman, named in legal papers as SW, at her home in August 2010.
Swedish prosecutors dropped part of their investigation in 2015 because of a statute of limitations.
At the embassy Julian Assange is beyond the reach of the UK authorities. Sweden has issued an arrest warrant for him, which he has appealed against.
Shortly after Ingrid Isgren entered the embassy, a cat – said to belong to Julian Assange – appeared at one of the windows and began watching the journalists and Assange supporters gathered outside.
The cat has its own Twitter feed, which says it lives with Julian Assange and is “interested in counter-purrveillance”.
A statement on behalf of the Swedish prosecutors, quoted by the Press Association, said the investigation would remain confidential, including the interview at the embassy.
One of Julian Assange’s lawyers, Per Samuelson, said his client “is very happy that he finally will be given the opportunity to give his statement to the Swedish prosecution.
John Podesta, the Chairman of the 2016 Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, has said the FBI is investigating whether Russia was behind a hack on his private email.
He also suggested Donald Trump’s campaign was given advance notice of the breach.
John Podesta’s remarks come after WikiLeaks published a trove of his hacked emails.
Hillary Clinton’s top adviser said the enquiry was part of a wider probe into hacks on the Democratic Party by groups with Russian ties.
“I’ve been involved in politics for nearly five decades,” John Podesta told reporters aboard the Clinton campaign plane.
“This definitely is the first campaign that I’ve been involved with in which I’ve had to tangle with Russian intelligence agencies, who seem to be doing everything they can on behalf of our opponent.”
John Podesta pointed to a tweet by Donald Trump’s adviser Roger Stone in August that said Podesta’s “time in the barrel” was coming.
Image source Wikipedia
However, the tweet was posted shortly after WikiLeaks released thousands of hacked emails from other Democratic officials.
John Podesta also claimed Roger Stone has been in touch with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, but acknowledged evidence was “circumstantial”.
Roger Stone told the AP that John Podesta’s claims were “categorically false” while WikiLeaks tweeted that it “has had no contact with Roger Stone”.
John Podesta also speculated that the timing of the first WikiLeaks release on October 7 was intended to distract from the explosive 2005 footage showing Donald Trump making inappropriate comments about groping women.
The Clinton campaign has not verified the authenticity of the leaked emails, adding that they could have been altered.
Hillary Clinton’s spokeswoman, Jennifer Palmieri said: “The pattern is they hack, they leak truthful things, and then they build up to leaking documents that are either doctored or wholly fabricated.”
The latest batch of emails offer a glimpse into Hillary Clinton’s political network, suggesting that Donna Brazile, Democratic National Committee interim chairman, had given the nominee advance notice of a question she would be asked at a CNN town hall event.
Donna Brazile denied any impropriety on October 11.
US relations with Russia have taken a central role in the presidential election.
Last week, US intelligence officials said the Russian government was behind a series of hacks aiming to influence the presidential election.
Hillary Clinton has also questioned Donald Trump’s praise for Russian President Vladimir Putin as a strong leader, his connection to Russian businessmen and his criticism of the NATO alliance.
Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov told CNN the hacking allegations were flattering but ridiculous.
When asked about Donald Trump’s comments about women, Sergey Lavrov said there were “pussies” on both sides.
The International Monetary Fund has dismissed reports that it is trying to push Greece towards default as “simply nonsense”.
“The IMF conducts its negotiations in good faith, not by way of threats, and we do not communicate through leaks,” IMF chief Christine Lagarde wrote in a letter to Greek PM Alexis Tsipras.
Christine Lagarde’s letter comes after Wikileaks published a transcript of IMF officials discussing bailout negotiations.
One says a “crisis” could force a deal.
Greece publicly demanded an explanation after the leak, suggesting the comments meant the IMF could be planning to deliberately prolong debt negotiations until the country was close to running out of money.
Christine Lagarde said the “incident” had made her “concerned as to whether we can indeed achieve progress”, but said she had decided to allow the IMF team to return to Athens to continue debt discussions.
However, the IMF chief also warned that the latest bailout deal was “still a good distance away”.
Christine Lagarde said that the IMF could only support a deal that would enable “robust growth” for Greece, while also allowing it to tackle its debt repayments.
In 2015, Greece agreed a multi-billion dollar bailout with the EU and IMF that was needed for the country to avoid bankruptcy and stay in the eurozone.
Talks between Greece, the EU and the IMF on a bailout review, assessing Greece’s progress at implementing money-saving reforms and aimed at unlocking further loans, are due to resume this week.
The review has been suspended twice since January due to disagreement among the lenders over the estimated size of Greece’s fiscal gap by 2018, as well as different opinions on pension reforms and how bad loans are being managed.
“In the interest of the Greek people, we need to bring these negotiations to a speedy conclusion,” wrote Christine Lagarde.
Greece has challenged the International Monetary Fund (IMF) over a leaked conversation in which top officials allegedly discuss the Greek bailout.
Wikileaks published a transcript showing top officials discussing ways of putting pressure on Greece, Germany and the EU to get them to wrap up talks.
One of those quoted suggests a crisis “event” may be needed to force a conclusion.
Further negotiations between Greece and its lenders are due next week.
In 2015, Greece agreed a multi-billion dollar bailout with the EU and IMF that was needed for the country to avoid bankruptcy and stay in the eurozone.
The Wikileaks conversation purportedly involves Poul Thomsen, head of the IMF’s Europe department, and Delia Velculescu, leader of the IMF team in Greece, the senior officials in charge of Greece’s debt crisis.
Poul Thomsen is quoted as complaining about the pace of talks on reforms Greece has agreed to carry out in exchange for the bailout.
“What is going to bring it all to a decision point?” he asks.
“In the past there has been only one time when the decision has been made and then that was when they were about to run out of money seriously and to default.”
Delia Velculescu later agrees: “We need an event, but I don’t know what that will be.”
Poul Thomsen also appears to suggest the IMF could pull out of the bailout to force German Chancellor Angela Merkel to agree to debt relief.
Such a move could be politically difficult for Angela Merkel, the key figure in the crisis.
“Look…, Mrs. Merkel, you face a question, you have to think about what is more costly: to go ahead without the IMF, would the Bundestag say <<the IMF is not on board?>> or to pick the debt relief that we think that Greece needs in order to keep us on board? Right?” Poul Thomsen says.
The IMF would not comment on the purported leaks but said its public position on the matter was clear.
Former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis said: “As WikiLeaks revealed today, the IMF is planning to stall until July to bring Greece to its knees [again!] in order to force Angela Merkel’s hand.
“It’s time to stop Greece’s fiscal water boarding by an incompetent, misanthropic troika.”
President Barack Obama apologized to Japan after WikiLeaks claimed Washington had spied on Japanese politicians, a government spokesman said.
Barack Obama held a telephone conversation with Japan’s PM Shinzo Abe on August 26, spokesman Yoshihide Suga said, adding that the pair agreed to work together on global economic issues in the wake of a stock market meltdown sparked by fears over China.
“President Obama said he was very sorry… as the case caused a big debate in Japan,” Yoshihide Suga told a regular news conference, without confirming the spying claims.
He added that PM Shinzo Abe reiterated his “serious concern” over the case.
“Prime Minister Abe told [Barack Obama] that, if the Japanese people concerned were subject to these activities, it would risk jeopardizing trusting relations between allies,” Yoshihide Suga said.
In an earlier conversation with VP Joe Biden, Shinzo Abe voiced similar concerns if the spying claims were confirmed.
Last month, WikiLeaks said it had intercepts revealing years-long espionage by the US National Security Agency (NSA) on Japanese officials and major companies.
Tokyo’s response has been widely seen as muted compared to the anger expressed in France and Germany following similar NSA spying allegations.
Japan is one of Washington’s key allies in the Asia-Pacific region and they regularly consult on defense, economic and trade issues.
Sweden will drop its investigation into assault allegations against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on August 13 because of the statutes of limitation, the BBC reports.
Julian Assange still faces the more serious allegation of rape.
However, Swedish prosecutors have run out of time to investigate Julian Assange for assault because they have not succeeded in questioning him.
The Australian journalist and activist denies all allegations and has said they are part of a smear campaign.
Julian Assange sought asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden.
Under Swedish law, charges cannot be laid without interviewing the suspect.
Prosecutors had until August 13 to question Julian Assange about one accusation of molestation and one of unlawful coercion, while the time limit on a further allegation of molestation runs out on August 18.
The more serious allegation of rape is not due to expire until 2020.
An official announcement from the prosecutor’s office is expected on Thursday morning.
Julian Assange has always denied all the accusations and says he fled into the Ecuadorian embassy because he fears being extradited from Sweden to the US and put on trial for releasing secret American documents.
He has said in the past that he will not leave the embassy, even if the accusations of se* crimes are dropped.
The woman who accused Julian Assange of molestation and unlawful coercion – who is identified in legal papers only as AA – is said to be relieved that the case is now behind her.
Swedish prosecutors had initially insisted that Julian Assange be questioned in Sweden, but earlier this year – under pressure to advance the investigation – agreed that he could be interviewed in London.
The Swedish government has been unable to negotiate access with the Ecuadorian authorities, with both sides blaming the other for the impasse.
Lawyers for Julian Assange say the allegations of assault should have been dropped long ago.
He said he believed Julian Assange could clear his name over the rape allegation.
Sweden is expected to continue discussions with Ecuador over the terms under which the prosecutor could question Julian Assange over the remaining accusation.
The UK government has urged Ecuador to co-operate, stressing that the UK has a legal obligation to extradite Julian Assange.
The cost of policing the Ecuadorian embassy in Knightsbridge for the past three years now stands at around £12 million ($18.8 million).
US ambassador to Paris has been summoned by the French foreign ministry over claims that the US spied on President Francois Hollande and his two predecessors, officials say.
Whistleblower website WikiLeaks reports the NSA spied on Francois Hollande, Nicolas Sarkozy and Jacques Chirac between 2006 and 2012.
President Francois Hollande called an emergency meeting and said France would “not tolerate” acts that threaten its security.
The US said it would not comment on “specific intelligence allegations”.
Ned Price, a spokesman for the US National Security Council, added that the US was “not targeting and will not target the communications of Mr. Hollande”.
The NSA has previously been accused of spying on German Chancellor Angela Merkel and on Brazilian and Mexican leaders.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has summoned US Ambassador Jane Hartley to discuss the latest claims, French officials said.
Jane Hartley is expected to visit the foreign ministry in Paris on June 24.
A statement from the French presidency said the US must respect a promise not to spy on French leaders. The statement came after an emergency meeting of security chiefs in Paris.
A senior French intelligence official is meanwhile expected to visit Washington to discuss the spying claims.
WikiLeaks began publishing the files on June 23, under the heading “Espionnage Elysee” – a reference to the French presidential palace.
It said the secret files “derive from directly targeted NSA surveillance of the communications” of the three French presidents as well as French ministers and the ambassador to the US.
The WikiLeaks files have now been published by France’s Liberation newspaper and the Mediapart investigative website.
One of the files, dated 2012, is about Francois Hollande discussing Greece’s possible exit from the eurozone. Another one – from 2011 – alleges that Nicolas Sarkozy was determined to resume peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, possibly without US involvement.
A file dated 2010 suggests that French officials were aware that the US was spying upon them and intended to complain about it.
According to the summary of an intercepted exchange, the French envoy to Washington and Nicolas Sarkozy’s diplomatic adviser discussed Sarkozy’s plan to express his “frustration” over US unwillingness to sign a “bilateral intelligence co-operation agreement”.
Hundreds of thousands of emails and documents from a cyber-attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment in 2014 have been now published by WikiLeaks.
The archive apparently includes Sony conversations with Downing Street and with Hollywood figures.
In November, Sony suffered a cyber-attack weeks before releasing The Interview, a movie criticized by North Korea.
Sony said it “strongly condemns” the WikiLeaks release.
“We vehemently disagree with WikiLeaks’ assertion that this material belongs in the public domain,” Sony said in a statement.
The WikiLeaks dump includes more than 170,000 emails and over 20,000 documents.
After November’s hack, an unknown organization published the documents online, but it was not in an easily-searchable form.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange justified the publication by saying the documents show the inner functioning of a multinational company and are “at the centre of a geo-political conflict”.
The attack came just weeks before Sony was set to release The Interview about a fictional American plot to kill North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
North Korea denied involvement in the attack but praised it as a “righteous deed”.
In December 2014, a group calling itself the “Guardians of Peace” threatened 9/11-type attacks on theaters showing the movie, spurring Sony to cancel the movie’s release.
Days later, amidst growing public pressure to show the movie, Sony bosses appeared to change their minds and said they would give it a limited Christmas Day release.
In January 2015, the US imposed new sanctions on North Korea in response to the attack. And, in April, President Barack Obama ordered the creation of a program that would allow the US government to sanction foreign hackers.
Julian Assange could be questioned by Swedish prosecutors at the Ecuadorean embassy in London.
Prosecutors had previously insisted on questioning Julian Assange in Sweden, after seeking his arrest in 2010, but now they offered to travel to London to question him over assault allegations.
Julian Assange, 43, denies the assault claims and has been living at the Ecuadorean embassy in London since 2012.
The WikiLeaks founder fears that if he is sent to Sweden he could then be extradited to the US to face charges over leaking material.
The lead Swedish prosecutor explained the change of strategy by saying some potential charges against Julian Assange would expire under the statute of limitations in August.
“My view has always been that to perform an interview with him at the Ecuadorean embassy in London would lower the quality of the interview,” Marianne Ny said in a statement.
“Now that time is of the essence, I have viewed it therefore necessary to accept such deficiencies in the investigation and likewise take the risk that the interview does not move the case forward.”
Julian Assange – an Australian journalist and activist – has not been formally charged, but Swedish prosecutors want to question him over allegations of rape and assault made by two women he met during a trip to Sweden in August 2010.
Marianne Ny said she had made a request to Julian Assange’s legal team to take a DNA sample from him in London, as well as conducting questioning.
His lawyer, Per Samuelson, said that request would need to be discussed, since his client had already left a DNA sample with UK police in 2010.
Ecuador offered Julian Assange asylum in August 2012, shortly after he sought refuge at the country’s embassy in London.
In November a Swedish appeals court upheld the warrant for Julian Assange’s arrest, but criticized prosecutors for not making enough effort to explore “alternative avenues” for interrogating him.
If he was extradited, Julian Assange would be detained upon arrival in Sweden.
Per Samuelson said leaving the embassy and travelling to Sweden still presented a risk for Julian Assange.
“If he leaves he loses his political immunity… he stands to end up in an American prison for 35, 40 years,” he said.
WikiLeaks has published thousands of secret documents, which have caused intense embarrassment for the US and lifted the lid on diplomatic relations.
Julian Assange co-founded WikiLeaks website in 2006.
The UK has spent about £10 million ($15 million) providing a 24-hour guard at the Ecuadorean embassy in London since WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange claimed asylum there, Scotland Yard figures show.
Julian Assange, who denies allegations he assaulted two women in Sweden, faces arrest if he leaves the embassy.
A WikiLeaks spokesman said the policing costs were “embarrassing”.
Deputy PM Nick Clegg said Julian Assange should go to Sweden and “face justice”.
Between June 2012 and October 2014, direct policing costs were £7.3 million ($11 million), with £1.8 million ($2.8 million) spent on overtime, police said.
Scotland Yard confirmed the cost of the operation to UK taxpayers in the first 28 months, until October 31, 2014, had reached £9 million ($13.5 million).
According to British police, the costs were covered by the budget for diplomatic protection, which provides policing for embassies in the UK.
The cost of a further three months policing is now expected to have taken the total bill to about £10 million ($15 million).
“It is embarrassing to see the UK government spending more on surveillance and detaining an uncharged political refugee than on its investigation into the Iraq war, which killed hundreds of thousands,” WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson said.
Julian Assange has attacked Sweden, saying the country had “imported Guantanamo’s most shameful legal practice – indefinite detention without charge”.
In August 2014, Julian Assange indicated he would “soon” leave the embassy, where he has now been for more than 950 days, but he remains inside.
Swedish authorities want to question Julian Assange over allegations that he assaulted two women while he was in Stockholm to give a lecture in 2010.
A Swedish appeal court upheld an arrest warrant against Julian Assange in November 2014.
UK courts have repeatedly ruled that he should be extradited to Sweden to face questioning.
But Julian Assange fears he could be extradited to the US to face charges over the release of top-secret documents by WikiLeaks.
He entered Ecuador’s embassy in London after the UK’s Supreme Court dismissed his bid to reopen his appeal against extradition. He was then granted asylum by Ecuador in August 2012.
Julian Assange has been warned he will be arrested if he leaves the embassy, prompting the 24-hour guard by Metropolitan Police officers.
An arrest warrant against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been upheld by a Swedish appeals court.
The Court of Appeal refused Julian Assange’s appeal for the detention order issued in 2010 to be revoked.
Julian Assange, who denies assault allegations, has sought refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy in London to avoid extradition.
If he is sent to Sweden, he says he fears charges in the US over the leaking of secret government documents.
Two women in Sweden accuse Julian Assange of assault.
Thursday’s court decision ruled on an appeal against a similar decision by a lower court.
“There is no reason to set aside the detention solely because Julian Assange is in an embassy and the detention order cannot be enforced at present for that reason,” the Svea Court of Appeal in Stockholm said in a statement.
“The reasons for detention still outweigh the reasons to the contrary since Julian Assange is suspected of crimes of a relatively serious nature and there is a great risk that he will evade legal proceedings or punishment if the detention order is set aside.”
The Ecuadorean government granted asylum to Julian Assange in 2012 after the UK Supreme Court refused to reopen his appeal against extradition.
Julian Assange has not been formally indicted in Sweden, but prosecutors want to question him over allegations of sexual misconduct and rape involving two women he met during a visit to the Scandinavian country in 2010.
He denies the allegations and has said they are part of a smear campaign against him.
Julian Assange fears that, if he were extradited to Sweden, he would be extradited again to the US, where he could face charges over the release of thousands of secret documents by WikiLeaks.
Chelsea Manning, an American soldier formerly known as Bradley Manning, was sentenced to 35 years in prison in the US for passing documents to WikiLeaks.
Julian Assange has suggested he will be leaving Ecuador’s embassy in London “soon”.
The WikiLeaks founder said he would be “leaving the embassy” after two years’ refuge but gave no more details.
Julian Assange, 43, is wanted for questioning over alleged s** assaults in Sweden and faces arrest if he leaves the embassy.
WikiLeaks spokeswoman Kristinn Hrafnsson later said the plan “as always” was for Julian Assange to depart when the UK “calls off the siege”.
“The world is not coming to an end,” Kristinn Hrafnsson told reporters inside the embassy.
“The plan, as always, is to leave as soon as the UK government decides to honour its obligations in relation to international agreements.”
Julian Assange faces questioning by prosecutors in Stockholm over claims made by two women in 2010. He denies the allegations and sought refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy in June 2012 shortly after the UK’s Supreme Court dismissed his efforts to block his extradition.
Since then police have maintained a round-the-clock presence outside the building, in London’s Knightsbridge, at a cost of £6.4 million ($10.2 million).
Julian Assange would be arrested and extradited if he left the embassy.
Speaking at the news conference, Julian Assange said: “I understand that Kristinn Hrafnsson has said that he can confirm I am leaving the embassy soon.”
He added it was not because he needed medical treatment, as had been reported in some of the UK press.
Julian Assange has suggested he will be leaving Ecuador’s embassy in London soon (photo AP)
Julian Assange says he fears he could eventually be handed over to the US because WikiLeaks published classified US military documents on the Afghan and Iraq wars.
However, UK courts have repeatedly ruled that he should be sent to Sweden to face questioning.
The UK first ordered his extradition in February 2011. Julian Assange launched a number of appeals, which culminated in the Supreme Court saying the extradition was lawful in 2012.
After that decision, Julian Assange, who had been on conditional bail, sought refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy.
He was then granted asylum by Ecuador in August 2012 and the country’s foreign minister Ricardo Patino said he would continue to be offered “protection”.
Sitting next to Ricardo Patino at a news conference on Monday, Julian Assange said his health had suffered during his time inside the embassy.
Reports in UK newspapers at the weekend said Julian Assange had developed a heart defect and a chronic lung condition during his confinement.
The Australian said the reasons for him leaving were not those “reported by the Murdoch press” – but did not elaborate further.
Any argument Julian Assange could not be extradited because of his health was “almost certainly bound to fail” because Sweden has a good healthcare system.
Ricardo Patino said the Ecuadorean government would attempt to meet Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond to discuss the case.
He said changes to the UK’s extradition laws had created a better climate for reaching a deal over Julian Assange.
“It is time to free Julian Assange. It is time for his human rights to be finally respected,” Ricardo Patino added.
A UK Foreign Office spokesman called on the Ecuadorean government to help “bring this difficult and costly situation to an end”.
The US Army will begin treatment for document leaker Chelsea Manning for her gender-identity condition.
Defense secretary Chuck Hagel has approved gender treatment for Private First Class Manning, who was formerly known as Bradley.
The move came after the bureau of prisons rejected the Army’s request to transfer her from a military facility.
Chelsea Manning is serving a 35-year sentence for leaking classified files to WikiLeaks.
The US Army will begin treatment for document leaker Chelsea Manning for her gender-identity condition
The soldier has been diagnosed by military doctors with gender dysphoria, the sense of one’s gender being at odds with the sex assigned at birth.
Following her conviction in July 2013 on 20 charges in connection with the leaks of military and diplomatic documents, Pte Chelsea Manning requested treatment including hormone therapy, and to be allowed to live as a woman.
A lawyer for Chelsea Manning threatened in May to sue the Army if she was not given gender change therapy in military prison.
Nancy Hollander argued the military had an obligation to treat the soldier’s “transgender issues”, and she would not be safe if transferred to a civilian prison for treatment there.
In April, a judge granted the soldier’s petition to change her name legally from Bradley to Chelsea, and according to a court filing by Pte Manning’s legal team, a military doctor at Fort Leavenworth had approved a treatment plan by November 2013.
The US military is required to offer medical treatment to its soldiers, but Pentagon policy prohibits transgender people from serving openly in the military.
Chelsea Manning will not be discharged from the military until she has finished her prison term.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said earlier the policy on transgender service members should be “continuously reviewed” but has not said whether he believes the policy should be overturned.
A previous study by the Palm Center estimated there were 15,000 transgender US military members and 130,000 veterans.
Bradley Manning, the US soldier convicted of handing a trove of secret government documents to anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks, has been sentenced to 35 years in prison.
Pte First Class Bradley Manning, 25, was convicted in July of 20 charges against him, including espionage.
Last week, he apologized for hurting the US and for “the unexpected results” of his actions.
Prosecutors had asked for a 60-year sentence in order to send a message to future potential leakers.
Bradley Manning will receive a credit against his sentence of about three and a half years, including time he has already served in jail and 112 days in recompense for the harsh conditions of his initial confinement.
He could be eligible for parole in about 11 years.
On Twitter, WikiLeaks called the sentence a “significant strategic victory”.
In the military courtroom in Fort Meade, Maryland, on Wednesday, Judge Col Denise Lind declared Pte Bradley Manning would be demoted to private and dishonorably discharged from the US Army, and forfeit his pay.
While stationed in Iraq in 2010, the junior intelligence analyst passed hundreds of thousands of battlefield reports and diplomatic cables to WikiLeaks, the pro-transparency group headed by Julian Assange.
Bradley Manning has said he leaked the secret files in the hopes of sparking a public debate about US foreign policy and the military.
Bradley Manning has been sentenced to 35 years in prison in WikiLeaks case
In a statement during the sentencing hearing, Bradley Manning told the court martial at Fort Meade, Maryland that “the last three years have been a learning experience for me”.
He said he mistakenly believed he could change the world for the better, and that in retrospect, he should have worked “inside the system”.
His defense lawyers are expected to make a statement later on Wednesday.
The verdict and sentence will be reviewed, and possibly reduced, by a military district commander and will be automatically reviewed by the Army Court of Criminal Appeals.
Bradley Manning may also petition the court for lenience during the appeals process.
He is expected to serve his sentence at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
Meanwhile, Amnesty International and the Bradley Manning Support Network have announced an online petition asking President Barack Obama to pardon Pte Manning.
The young soldier grew up in Oklahoma and in Wales, where his mother is from, and reportedly joined the US Army to help pay for college.
As an intelligence analyst, Bradley Manning had access to a large amount of very sensitive information, despite his junior rank. He deployed to Iraq in 2009.
A military psychiatrist testified that Bradley Manning had struggled with his gender identity and wanted to become a woman at the time of the leak.
Navy Capt. David Moulton testified that Bradley Manning had felt abandoned by friends and family and that his relationship with his boyfriend had hit a rough patch.
According to evidence presented by the defense, military supervisors ignored Bradley Manning’s erratic behavior, which included trying to grab a gun during a counseling session.
His lawyers said such actions had shown that Bradley Manning had not been fit for duty overseas.
Defense lawyers said Bradley Manning was treated unfairly in solitary confinement in Quantico, Virginia and in a cell at Camp Arifjan, a US Army installation in Kuwait.
Bradley Manning told the court he remembered thinking: “I’m going to die, I’m stuck inside this cage.”
The leaks enabled WikiLeaks to publish sensitive messages between US diplomats and records of military incidents in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as a cockpit video showing a US Apache helicopter killing 12 people in the Iraqi capital in 2007.
The revelations caused significant embarrassment to the US government, and US officials have said the disclosures damaged US relations with its allies and disrupted the war effort in Afghanistan.
Private First Class Bradley Manning has apologized for hurting the US by leaking a trove of classified government documents to WikiLeaks.
At a sentencing hearing in Fort Meade, Maryland, Bradley Manning, 25, said he had mistakenly believed he could “change the world for the better”.
And he said that in retrospect, he should have worked “inside the system”.
Bradley Manning faces up to 90 years in prison following his conviction in July on 20 espionage and other charges.
In an unsworn statement at the hearing in the sentencing phase of his court martial, Bradley Manning said: “I’m sorry that my actions hurt people. I’m sorry that it hurt the United States.
“I’m apologizing for the unexpected results of my actions. The last three years have been a learning experience for me.”
Last month, military Judge Colonel Denise Lind convicted Private Bradley Manning of 20 charges including espionage, theft and violating computer regulations.
Bradley Manning had already admitted passing hundreds of thousands of battlefield reports and diplomatic cables to WikiLeaks while stationed in Iraq in 2010, saying in a pre-trial hearing he had leaked the secret files in order to spark a public debate about US foreign policy and the military.
In his brief statement on Wednesday, Bradley Manning said he had come to realize he should have worked “more aggressively inside the system” to make the changes he sought.
“When I made these decisions I believed I was going to help people, not hurt people,” he said.
“Unfortunately, I can’t go back and change things.”
Bradley Manning also said he understood he must “pay a price” for his actions, but hoped one day to go to university and have a meaningful relationship with his sister and other family members.
Bradley Manning has apologized for hurting the US by leaking a trove of classified government documents to WikiLeaks
The sentencing phase of the trial has focused on how much damage the WikiLeaks revelations caused. The prosecution has called witnesses who described the impact on US diplomatic relations and on the military’s dealings with Afghan civilians, among other effects.
Bradley Manning has said he never intended to harm US national security.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday the organization that received and published the leaked documents, WikiLeaks, said the statement was “extorted from him under the overbearing weight of the United States military justice system”.
“Mr. Manning’s forced decision to apologize to the US government in the hope of shaving a decade or more off his sentence must be regarded with compassion and understanding,” the anti-secrecy group said.
Ahead of Bradley Manning’s statement, Navy Capt. David Moulton, a psychiatrist, testified that at the time of the leak he felt abandoned by friends and family and had hit a rough patch with his boyfriend amid an isolating deployment.
The psychiatrist interviewed Bradley Manning for 21 hours after his arrest.
Bradley Manning had also decided he wanted to become a woman, Capt. David Moulton said.
In psychiatric terms, Bradley Manning has a “gender identity disorder”, or “disturbance of one’s gender”, Capt. David Moulton said.
This is different from being gay, he added.
“Gender is very much at the core of our identity,” he said, adding that when a person is uncertain about his or her gender, the whole world seems “off-keel”.
Bradley Manning referred to these issues in his statement, saying they were “ongoing” and “a considerable difficulty in my life” but no excuse for his actions.
Amid this turmoil, Bradley Manning also became disillusioned about the US War in Iraq and was trying to correct “injustices”, Capt. David Moulton said.
“Manning was under the impression that the leaked information was going to change how the world saw the war in Iraq,” the psychiatrist testified.
He added that Bradley Manning believed the leaks would ultimately end all war, and the young soldier was unclear about the extent of the punishment he would face for his actions.
“He underestimated how much trouble he would get in, for sure,” Capt. David Moulton said.
“He was really relying on his morals and his ideology and not thinking beyond that.”
Separately, an Army psychotherapist, who treated Bradley Manning while he was in Iraq, said he had begun the process to remove him from the military.
“He was having issues at work,” Capt. Michael Worsley said, adding Bradely Manning’s job as an intelligence analyst had made him even more isolated and anxious.
During treatment, the soldier sent Capt. Michael Worsley an email describing his desire to become a woman and his hopes military life would “get rid of it”, attaching a photo of himself with a blond wig and makeup.
Bradley Manning’s sister and aunt are also on the list of potential defense witnesses.
Edward Snowden has thanked Russia for granting him temporary asylum, allowing him to leave the Moscow airport where he has been holed up since June.
In a statement, Edward Snowden also accused the US government of showing “no respect” for international law.
The US has charged Edward Snowden with leaking details of its electronic surveillance programmes.
Washington has expressed its “extreme disappointment” at Russia’s decision.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said they were considering whether a meeting between US President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in September should go ahead.
The latest developments came amid fresh revelations from the cache of documents leaked by Edward Snowden.
Documents seen by the UK’s Guardian newspaper appear to show the US government paid at least $150 million to the UK’s GCHQ spy agency to secure access to and influence over Britain’s intelligence gathering programmes.
Edward Snowden’s lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, said the former CIA contractor had left Sheremetyevo Airport at about 14:00 local time for an undisclosed destination.
Showing a photocopy of the document issued to his client, he described Edward Snowden as “the most pursued man on the planet”.
Anatoly Kucherena said Edward Snowden was being looked after by a legal expert from the whistleblowing organization WikiLeaks.
Russia’s Federal Migration Service later officially confirmed that Edward Snowden had been granted temporary asylum for one year, Interfax news agency reported.
Russia granted Edward Snowden temporary asylum, allowing him to leave the Moscow airport
In a statement issued on the WikiLeaks website, Edward 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.”
President Barack Obama and President Vladimir Putin had been scheduled to meet on the sidelines of a G20 summit in early September in Saint Petersburg.
However, Jay Carney said: “We’re extremely disappointed that the Russian government would take this step despite our very clear and lawful requests in public and in private to have Mr. Snowden expelled to the United States to face the charges against him.
“We’re evaluating the utility of a summit in light of this and other issues.”
Earlier, Senator Robert Menendez, chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee, described Thursday’s development as “a setback to US-Russia relations”.
“Edward Snowden is a fugitive who belongs in a United States courtroom, not a free man deserving of asylum in Russia,” he said.
Republican Senator John McCain also issued a stinging rebuke, saying Russia’s actions were “a disgrace and a deliberate effort to embarrass the United States”.
“It is a slap in the face of all Americans. Now is the time to fundamentally rethink our relationship with Putin’s Russia. We need to deal with the Russia that is, not the Russia we might wish for,” he said.
Vladimir Putin has said previously that Edward Snowden could receive asylum in Russia on condition he stopped leaking US secrets.
The Russian president’s foreign policy adviser, Yury Ushakov, said the situation was “rather insignificant” and should not influence relations with the US.
Information leaked by Edward Snowden first surfaced in the Guardian newspaper in early June.
It showed that the National Security Agency (NSA) was collecting the telephone records of tens of millions of Americans.
The systems analyst also disclosed that the NSA had tapped directly into the servers of nine internet firms including Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo to track online communication in a surveillance programme known as PRISM.
PRISM was allegedly also used by Britain’s electronic eavesdropping agency, GCHQ. The agency was further accused of sharing vast amounts of data with the NSA.
Allegations that the NSA had spied on its EU allies caused indignation in Europe.
Private Bradley Manning, who leaked thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks, has been convicted of espionage but not of aiding the enemy.
Bradley Manning, 25, has been found guilty of 20 charges in total, including theft and computer fraud.
He had admitted leaking the documents to anti-secrecy organization WikiLeaks but said he did so to spark a debate on US foreign policy.
The leak is considered the largest ever of secret US government files.
Bradley Manning faces a maximum sentence up to 136 years. His sentencing hearing is set to begin on Wednesday.
In addition to multiple espionage counts, he was also found guilty of five theft charges, two computer fraud charges and multiple military infractions.
Bradley Manning stood and faced Judge Colonel Denise Lind as she read the decision on Tuesday. She said she would release detailed written findings at a later date.
He appeared to not react during the verdict, but his defense lawyer, David Coombs, smiled faintly as the not guilty charge on aiding the enemy was read.
Private Bradley Manning, who leaked thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks, has been convicted of espionage but not of aiding the enemy
“We won the battle, now we need to go win the war,” his defense lawyer, David Coombs said of the sentencing phase.
“Today is a good day, but Bradley is by no means out of the fire.”
Being found guilty of aiding the enemy could have had serious implications for people leaking documents in the future.
“The government’s pursuit of the ‘aiding the enemy’ charge was a serious overreach of the law, not least because there was no credible evidence of Manning’s intent to harm the USA by releasing classified information to WikiLeaks,” Amnesty International said in a statement.
Among the items sent to WikiLeaks by Pte. Bradley Manning was graphic footage of an Apache helicopter attack in 2007 that killed a dozen people in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, including a Reuters photographer.
The documents also included 470,000 Iraq and Afghanistan battlefield reports and 250,000 secure state department cables between Washington and embassies around the world.
Bradley Manning, an intelligence analyst, was arrested in Iraq in May 2010. He spent weeks in a cell at Camp Arifjan, a US Army installation in Kuwait, before being transferred to the US.
During the court martial, prosecutors said Bradley Manning systematically harvested hundreds of thousands of classified documents in order to gain notoriety.
With his training as an intelligence analyst, Bradley Manning should have known the leaked documents would become available to al-Qaeda operatives, they argued.
The defense characterized him as a naive and young soldier who had become disillusioned during his time in Iraq.
His actions, David Coombs argued, were those of a whistle-blower.
In a lengthy statement during a pre-trial hearing in February, Bradley Manning said he had leaked the files in order to spark a public debate about US foreign policy and the military.
Bradley Manning’s supporters rallied outside the court in Fort Meade and said they are planning to march to the White House on Tuesday evening.
Fugitive NSA leaker Edward Snowden has sent asylum requests to 21 countries, according to a statement published by WikiLeaks.
They include China, France, Ireland and Venezuela. Russia and Norway confirmed they had received applications.
But Russia said Edward Snowden later withdrew the application as the Kremlin had set conditions.
Edward Snowden accuses President Barack Obama of putting pressure on the countries to which he has applied.
The 30-year-old former intelligence systems analyst, who is holed up at Moscow airport, is wanted by the US on charges of leaking secrets.
US Secretary of State John Kerry was expected to discuss Edward Snowden’s case in talks with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on the sidelines of the ASEAN summit in Brunei.
The WikiLeaks press release said that most of the asylum requests – including to Russia itself – were handed to the Russian consulate at Sheremetyevo airport late on Sunday for delivery to the relevant embassies in Moscow.
The requests were submitted by Sarah Harrison, a British member of the WikiLeaks legal team acting as Edward Snowden’s representative, the statement added.
But Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov later said Edward Snowden withdrew the application to Russia because Moscow had said he should give up “anti-American activity”.
“After learning of Russian’s position yesterday, voiced by President Putin … he abandoned his intention [of staying] and his request to be able to stay in Russia,” he said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin had said that while Moscow “never hands over anybody anywhere”, Edward Snowden could only stay on condition that he stopped damaging Russia’s “American partners” with his leaks.
Edward Snowden has reportedly been in the transit area of Sheremetyevo since arriving there from Hong Kong on June 23.
Dmitry Peskov confirmed he was still there and had not crossed into Russian territory, adding that the former analyst had never been a Russian agent and had never worked with its intelligence services.
Polish Foreign Minister Radoslav Sikorski said on Twitter his country had received an application but that he would not be recommending granting the request.
Fugitive NSA leaker Edward Snowden has sent asylum requests to 21 countries
Norway’s foreign ministry later said its embassy in Moscow had received an application by fax which was “probably from him”.
But Norway, Poland, Germany, Austria, Finland and Switzerland said asylum requests could only be made on their soil.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, who is on a visit to Moscow, said Caracas had not yet received an asylum application from Edward Snowden but that he had “done something very important for humanity” and “deserved the world’s protection”.
“The world’s conscience should react, the world youth should react, the decent people who want a peaceful world should react, everyone should react and find solidarity with this young man who has denounced and altered the world that they [the US] pretend to control.”
Edward Snowden had previously submitted an application to Ecuador, whose embassy in London is sheltering WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, and to Iceland.
Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa told the Agence France-Presse news agency on Monday that his country would process Edward Snowden’s asylum request if he managed to enter an Ecuadorean embassy.
However, if he can complete his asylum request on Russian territory, then “the situation can be processed and resolved there,” President Correa added.
Details have also emerged of a letter from Edward Snowden to President Rafael Correa, thanking Ecuador for guaranteeing “my rights would be protected upon departing Hong Kong – I could never have risked travel without that”.
Speaking in Tanzania on Monday, President Barack Obama said Moscow and Washington had held “high level discussions” about Edward Snowden, who he said had travelled to Moscow without valid documents.
Edward Snowden describes himself as “a stateless person”, accusing the US government of stopping him from exercising the “basic right…to seek asylum”.
“The president ordered his vice president to pressure the leaders of nations from which I have requested protection to deny my asylum petitions,” he is quoted by WikiLeaks as saying.
“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.”
The leaking of thousands of classified intelligence documents has led to revelations that the US is systematically seizing vast amounts of phone and web data.
Asylum requests to 21 countries:
Austria, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Cuba, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, India, Italy, Ireland, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Norway, Poland, Russia (withdrawn), Spain, Switzerland, Venezuela
Edward Snowden accuses President Barack Obama of deception and taking away his basic rights as an American in a letter released by WikiLeaks.
The letter says Barack Obama – despite his public denials that he’d been “wheeling and dealing” with international parties over Edward Snowden – has dispatched Vice President Joe Biden to pressurize governments where the 30-year-old has sought asylum.
WikiLeaks today revealed they have applied to 21 countries in total on Edward Snowden’s behalf. The list includes Austria, Bolivia, Brazil, Cuba, Finland, France, Spain, Germany and Ireland.
It comes as Ecuador’s president Rafael Correa appeared to wash his hands of Edward Snowden saying his country is not considering his asylum request and that the former CIA analyst is Russia’s problem now.
Admitting Ecuador made a “mistake” in helping Edward Snowden flee Hong Kong in the first place, Rafael Correa appeared to backtrack on previous suggestions he was welcome, adding: “Are we responsible for getting him to Ecuador? It’s not logical. The country that has to give him a safe conduct document is Russia.”
Asked if he would like to meet Edward Snowden, Rafael Correa added: “Not particularly. He’s a very complicated person. Strictly speaking, Mr. Snowden spied for some time.”
His comments are in direct contrast to the open letter of thanks Edward Snowden issued hours earlier, before Rafael Correa’s views had been published.
“I remain free and able to publish information that serves the public interest,” Edward Snowden said in an undated Spanish-language letter sent to President Rafael Correa.
“No matter how many more days my life contains, I remain dedicated to the fight for justice in this unequal world. If any of those days ahead realize a contribution to the common good, the world will have the principles of Ecuador to thank.”
Hours after Rafael Correa’s comments, Finland became the first of today’s new list of potential safe havens to reject his plea for asylum saying such a request has to be made from inside the country.
WikiLeaks legal adviser Sarah Harrison is said to have led the petitions for asylum also made to India, Italy, Norway, Venezuela and Switzerland.
Edward Snowden accuses President Barack Obama of deception and taking away his basic rights as an American in a letter released by WikiLeaks
She also claims to have handled his current application in Russia and his previous request for assistance to China while he was hiding out in Hong Kong.
The long list suggests options are thin on the ground for the former NSA contractor and it appears – from his letter – that he is frustrated by the global community’s refusal to shelter him.
In it Edward Snowden complains that the US is illegally pursuing him for an act that was in the public interest.
“While the public has cried out support of my shining a light on this secret system of injustice, the Government of the United States of America responded with an extrajudicial man-hunt costing me my family, my freedom to travel, and my right to live peacefully without fear of illegal aggression,” it states.
Many critics seized on the letter’s syntax last night to claim it was a fake, written by someone in Britain.
Specifically, those doubting the letter’s authenticity pointed to this phrase:“For decades the United States of America have been one of the strongest defenders of the human right to seek asylum.”
An American English speaker would use the singular form, has, in relation to the United States.
After the internet erupted in a flurry of doubt, the word “have” was changed to “has” on the official statement on the WikiLeaks site.
Full text of letter released by WikiLeaks it claims is from Edward Snowden
“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 have 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 Snowden’s father, Lon Snowden, has said he believes his son would return to the US on certain conditions.
Lon Snowden asked for “ironclad assurances” his son’s rights would be protected in a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder.
He asked his son not be held before trial nor subjected to a gag order, and be able to choose where he was tried.
Edward Snowden, who faces spy charges in the US, flew to Moscow last weekend and has requested asylum in Ecuador.
“Mr. Snowden is reasonably confident that his son would voluntarily return to the United States if there were ironclad assurances that his constitutional rights would be honored,” said the letter by Lon Snowden’s lawyer, Bruce Fein.
The correspondence also requested for the case against the former intelligence contractor to be dismissed in the event that any of the three conditions were not met.
Earlier on Friday, Lon Snowden told NBC News he had not spoken to his son since April, a month before he fled to Hong Kong after leaking to media details of a huge US snooping programme.
Lon Snowden said his son had broken the law, but denied he was a traitor.
“At this point I don’t feel that he’s committed treason,” he said.
Edward Snowden’s father, Lon Snowden, has said he believes his son would return to the US on certain conditions
“He has in fact broken US law, in a sense that he has released classified information.”
Lon Snowden also voiced concern his son was being exploited by WikiLeaks, which has offered legal assistance to the 30-year-old.
“I don’t want to put him in peril, but I am concerned about those who surround him,” he said.
“I think WikiLeaks, if you’ve looked at past history, you know, their focus isn’t necessarily the constitution of the United States. It’s simply to release as much information as possible.”
Edward Snowden flew last Sunday from Hong Kong to Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport, where Russian authorities say he remains in a transit zone.
On Friday, the diplomatic fallout from the affair continued as a US envoy accused China of “misbehavior” for allowing Edward Snowden to leave.
“I don’t think we had a good-faith partner throughout that process,” said Stephen Young, the US consul general in Hong Kong, warning of repercussions.
The city’s government has said the US arrest paperwork had clerical errors, and that it had no legal basis to stop Edward Snowden travelling to Russia.
Beijing has accused the US of “double standards” on cybersecurity.
Ecuador says it has not yet processed the former US National Security Agency contractor’s request for asylum.
Russian authorities complained on Friday the US had not informed them in time that Edward Snowden’s passport had been revoked, placing Moscow in a “tough spot”.
“If this fact had been known in advance, then possibly Mr. Snowden might not have flown to Moscow and this entire story might never have happened,” an unnamed Russian official told Interfax news agency.
Russian President Vladimir Putin this week refused to hand over Edward Snowden to Washington, saying he was a “free man”.
Late on Thursday, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro repeated his offer of sanctuary to the US fugitive.