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Celebrities, Whistleblowers Lead Petition to Ecuador for Snowden's Political Asylum
Submitted by Robert Naiman on 1 July 2013 - 3:05pm
Celebrities, Whistleblowers, Lead Petition to Ecuador for Snowden's Political Asylum
Petition Has Over 23,000 Signers
For Immediate Release: July 1, 2013
Contact: Robert Naiman, Just Foreign Policy, (202) 448-2898
Washington, D.C. - Oliver Stone, Danny Glover, John Cusack, Amber Heard, Shia LaBeouf, Roseanne Barr, and musician Boots Riley have joined Vietnam War whistle-blower Daniel Ellsberg and Iraq War whistleblower Joe Wilson, author Noam Chomsky and many other prominent whistle-blowers, activists, former intelligence and military officers, academics and others in calling on Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa to grant whistle-blower Edward Snowden political asylum. The full letter and list of prominent signers was circulated by the organization Just Foreign Policy and is posted on the group’s website.
The letter is here:
The petition is here:
"We're proud to stand with patriotic American whistleblowers like Dan Ellsberg, Coleen Rowley, Joe Wilson and Thomas Drake in appealing to President Correa to grant political asylum to Edward Snowden," said Robert Naiman, Policy Director of Just Foreign Policy. "For democracy to work, Americans have to be able to find out what our government is doing. Unprecedented government secrecy and an unprecedented crackdown on whistleblowers are threatening the ability of Americans to control their government. If President Correa grants asylum to Snowden, all Americans who love freedom will be in his debt."
The actors, directors and musicians were joined by author and journalist Naomi Klein, professor and Middle East expert Juan Cole, “The Young Turks” co-host Cenk Uygur, Thomas Drake (the former NSA Senior Executive and whistleblower), Coleen Rowley (retired FBI agent & former Minneapolis Division Legal Counsel, and one of three “whistleblowers” named Time Magazine’s “Persons of the Year” in 2002), Jacob Appelbaum (developer of The Tor Project), Medea Benjamin and Jodie Evans (Cofounders of CODEPINK), Ann Wright (retired US Army Colonel and former US diplomat), and Ray McGovern (Former U.S. Army officer and former senior CIA analyst) among many others.
Over 23,000 others have joined in signing the petition as it has circulated on the internet. The Ecuadorean government first reported it had received a political asylum request from Snowden on Sunday.
The letter states that Snowden has revealed “severe abuses of the basic constitutional rights of U.S. citizens and the rights of people in other nations. Yet rather than focusing on the danger to citizens' freedom and privacy exposed by these revelations, and what reforms are necessary to protect citizens' rights, the Obama administration, the U.S. Congress and much of the media are again focusing their ire on the messenger” – Snowden, whom it terms a “brave whistle-blower.”
The letter states that the Obama administration has charged Snowden under the Espionage Act even though Snowden “clearly did not commit espionage,” and that the Espionage Act charges are “arbitrary” and “evidence of political persecution.” It notes that the Obama administration “has charged more than twice as many whistle-blowers under the Espionage Act than all previous presidents combined.”
The letter also describes the dangerous precedent set by the “cruel and inhuman” treatment that U.S. army whistle-blower Bradley Manning has endured, and that Snowden “would have difficulty in receiving a fair trial in the U.S.” It also states that “[t]here is no evidence whatsoever that [Snowden’s] revelations have in any way threatened U.S. national security or were ever intended to do so.”