Snowden’s Big Mistake
Yesterday, Edward Snowden allegedly released a new statement. Here’s an excerpt:
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.
First of all, the use of the plural verb highlighted above: Americans use the singular form when referring to the United States, while those who speak the Queen’s English use “are.” Either Snowden didn’t write that statement himself, or he wrote it and then allowed Julian Assange or his UK-based WikiLeaks handler in Russia to edit it.
Secondly, the US government or local authorities routinely compel citizens to surrender passports if they’re accused (not convicted, but accused) of a crime and deemed a flight risk, right? Snowden isn’t stateless—he’s just in hot water with his state.
Speaking of Assange, it appears he’s making Ecuador regret its kindness in taking him in:
Mr. Snowden’s case appeared to be causing tensions between the government of Ecuador and Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder. Mr. Assange has been in Ecuador’s embassy in London for more than a year, given asylum there to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning on allegations that he sexually assaulted two women.
“The conduct of Assange has bothered me a little, and this morning I spoke with the foreign minister to tell him not to speak about our country’s situations,” Mr. Correa [Ecuador’s president] said Monday, according to Agence France-Presse.
Mr. Correa was apparently displeased by comments that Mr. Assange made on Sunday on the ABC program “This Week” regarding Mr. Biden’s telephone call. Mr. Assange characterized that call as an effort to pressure Mr. Correa. “What does he know about the call from Joe Biden?” Mr. Correa was quoted as saying by A.F.P. “And he says that he called to pressure me. I have never permitted a call to put pressure on me.”
I’ve never quite known what to think about WikiLeaks: I can see both sides of the argument on transparency. Moreover, I’m generally suspicious when someone who is causing problems for a government is suddenly (and conveniently) discovered to be a pervert.
But whether or not Assange is guilty of sexual assault, the people who entrust government secrets to him don’t seem to fare so well, and he doesn’t appear competent enough to handle travel arrangements, let alone classified information. Future leakers beware.
[X-posted at Balloon Juice]