Snowden and Asylum #EuropeFail

Loz Kaye's picture

After some days with an increasing number of rebuffs, it is now reported that Edward Snowden is being offered asylum by Venezuela and Nicaragua. It appears that the bizarre incident with Evo Morales' plane may have in fact had precisely the opposite effect to what the US administration was hoping for by provoking Latin American nations.

As I pointed out on Russia Today a few days back, while Europe fails to act, there are no good options for Edward Snowden. I said that I am not a fan of Venezuela, that is because its human rights record and authoritarian tendencies are very far from what the Pirate Party view is. No doubt if Snowden goes there, this will be used to attack him and the whole basis of the NSA revelations. But wherever he ends up, this does not change the importance of the story.  If European nations are not willing to offer him the protection he needs, the fault is ours, not his.

There can be no doubt that what we have learnt means that Snowden's actions are an act of conscience. We were assured that surveillance was targeted not blanket hoovering exercises, it was not. It turns out thatJames Clapper mislead Congress on this point. The Americans want Snowden because the reports are embarrassing politically, not because they will do harm to our freedoms as they claim. This is not a case of a bad spy, but a good citizen. 

Throughout this whole affair Pirate Parties have been crystal clear. It's a read my lips moment. 

Asylum. For. Edward. Snowden.

This comes from our long held principles for standing up for whistleblowers as a vital part of our democratic society. I'm just ashamed that this country is probably one of the last places he would want to come right now.   Here in the UK, I've already pointed out how the main parties here are trying to pretend this whole affair is not happening and hoping it will just go away. The English Green Party has now made some helpful noises, but fall short with their suggestions. If Natalie Bennett thinks Catherine Ashton will help Edward Snowden, he will be drawing his pension at Sheremetyevo International Airport.    In Parliament there are hordes of Early Day Motions on everything, including 'Homeopathy in Farming' for crying out loud. But nothing on PRISM or TEMPORA.  By contrast the Pirate MPs in Iceland put forward a bill to grant citizenship to Edward Snowden. The last few weeks have also shown if you really want action on mass surveillance it's Pirate Parties that will deliver. That's what we will continue to do, not just for Snowden, but for anyone who has the courage to speak out.

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