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Join Oliver Stone & Noam Chomsky in Urging Correa to Grant Snowden Asylum

The U.S. government’s crackdown on whistleblowers is a direct threat to our efforts to reform U.S. foreign policy to make it more just. If we don't know for sure what the U.S. government is doing, we can’t have an effective democratic debate about what U.S. policy should be.

Faced with the threat of persecution by the U.S, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has applied to the government of Ecuador for political asylum. Join Oliver Stone, Noam Chomsky, and Tom Hayden in urging President Correa to grant Snowden’s asylum request.

http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/snowden

Recently, as part of a CodePink peace delegation to Yemen, I met with the U.S. Ambassador to Yemen, Gerald Feierstein. We delivered a petition signed by over 18,000 people urging Ambassador Feierstein to work quickly to transfer the Yemenis at Guantanamo who have been cleared for release and to work quickly to curtail U.S. drone strikes in Yemen as President Obama as promised.

In the course of this conversation, Ambassador Feierstein claimed that there are no “signature strikes” in Yemen – no strikes in which the U.S. doesn’t know who it is targeting. This claim is completely at odds with press reports. When I told a British reporter that Ambassador Feierstein had said this, she said: “He wouldn’t dare say that to me, because he knows I’d laugh in his face.”

This disconnect between what U.S. government officials say about the drone strikes and the record of independent reporting is only possible because of official government secrecy around the drone strikes. This secrecy is enabled by the unprecedented crackdown on whistleblowers. This secrecy is a key obstacle to our efforts to reform U.S. foreign policy.

Oliver Stone, Noam Chomsky, Tom Hayden Urge President Correa to Grant Snowden Asylum

To add your support for this letter, click here.

A Spanish translation of this letter is here. Another Spanish version is posted at SOAWatch, here; and there is also one at Aporrea here. A French version is at Mémoire des luttes, here.

Dear President Correa,

We write to urge you to grant political asylum to whistle-blower Edward Snowden.

Snowden’s disclosures have already done much to unveil the alarming scale of U.S. government spying on its own citizens and on people around the world. They have revealed severe overreach by the U.S.’ National Security Agency (NSA), which seeks to gather an overwhelming and invasive amount of information on people within the United States. Snowden has also revealed that the constant NSA surveillance also applies to millions of people outside the U.S., whose phone calls, emails and other communications are also indiscriminately targeted.

PRESS RELEASE: Letter From Prominent Americans, Delivered to Ecuadorean Embassy London, Urges Asylum for Assange

JFP's Policy Director Robert Naiman just hand delivered our petition from over 4,000 JFP members and a letter signed by prominent Americans including Michael Moore, Noam Chomsky, Oliver Stone, Daniel Ellsberg and Glenn Greenwald, urging Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa to grant Julian Assange's request for asylum.

PRESS RELEASE: Letter From Prominent Americans, Delivered to Ecuadorean Embassy London, Urges Asylum for Assange
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/pressreleases/assange-letter

For Immediate Release
June 25, 2012

Media Contacts:
(London) Robert Naiman, 217-979-2957, naiman@justforeignpolicy.org
(US) Megan Iorio, 908-400-9480, iorio@justforeignpolicy.org

Letter From Prominent Americans, Delivered to Ecuadorean Embassy London, Urges Asylum for Assange

Letter signed by Michael Moore, Noam Chomsky, Glenn Greenwald, Naomi Wolf, Daniel Ellsberg, Danny Glover, Oliver Stone, Bill Maher, Patch Adams, MD, Mark Weisbrot and other prominent Americans; petition signed by 4000 Americans

Moore, Glover, Stone, Maher, Greenwald, Wolf, Ellsberg Urge Correa to Grant Asylum to Assange

The following letter has been circulated mostly in the United States by Just Foreign Policy. It was hand-delivered to the Embassy of Ecuador in London by Just Foreign Policy's Policy Director Robert Naiman on Monday, June 25. Read the press release.

We also hand-delivered the online petition circulated by Just Foreign Policy, which has been signed by more than 7000 people. That petition - which you can still sign - is here: http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/assange-asylum


June 25, 2012

Dear President Correa,

We are writing to urge you to grant political asylum to Julian Assange.

As you know, British courts recently struck down Mr. Assange’s appeal against extradition to Sweden, where he is not wanted on criminal charges, but merely for questioning. Mr. Assange has repeatedly made clear he is willing to answer questions relating to accusations against him, but in the United Kingdom. But the Swedish government insists that he be brought to Sweden for questioning. This by itself, as Swedish legal expert and former Chief District Prosecutor for Stockholm Sven-Erik Alhem testified, is “unreasonable and unprofessional, as well as unfair and disproportionate.”

We believe Mr. Assange has good reason to fear extradition to Sweden, as there is a strong likelihood that once in Sweden, he would be imprisoned, and then likely extradited to the United States.

Brazil Should Lead on Access to Essential Medicines

By the greater use of compulsory licenses, Brazil could lower drug costs not only in Brazil, but in developing countries overall. At a time when the New York Times is reporting that "the global battle against AIDS is falling apart for lack of money," it is absolutely essential that the price of lifesaving medicines in developing countries be driven down to the absolute minimum possible.


With this in mind, I gave the following presentation on October 11 at a conference of doctors and health care workers in Sao Paulo.

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I want to begin by establishing some context that I think is important for understanding what it is that I am trying to communicate today and what it is that I am urging you to do.

If you ask yourself, how did it come to pass that important social reforms were won, an important part of the story is that groups of people banded together to pursue what they perceived to be a collective self-interest. You can't explain social change if the only possible actor in your head is an individual who is either individually self-interested or individually altruistic. Around the world, human slavery used to be commonplace, now it is not, how did that come to pass? You can't tell a story that makes sense without collective action based on perceived collective self-interest.

If you look at the anti-slavery movement in the United States, important leaders were themselves former slaves. You might say: that's no surprise, they knew what they were talking about. But if they were only acting on the basis of their individual self-interest, why bother? They were already free. Why not simply enrich themselves and tend their gardens?