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Transcript of WikiLeaks Press Conference on Edward Snowden’s Exit From Hong Kong

Transcript of WikiLeaks Press Conference on Edward Snowden’s Exit From Hong Kong

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Published by Ljiljana Tatic
Wednesday June 26, 04:00 BST

This is a full transcript of the WikiLeaks press conference call held on Monday June 24, at 15:00 BST, concerning Edward Snowden’s lawful exit from Hong Kong.
Wednesday June 26, 04:00 BST

This is a full transcript of the WikiLeaks press conference call held on Monday June 24, at 15:00 BST, concerning Edward Snowden’s lawful exit from Hong Kong.

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Ljiljana Tatic on Jul 14, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Welcome to today’s program. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. You may register to ask a question by pressing * and 1 on yourtouchtone phone. We’ll take questions in turn during our Q&A session.Please note today’s call is being recorded. It is now my pleasure tointroduce Trevor Fitzgibbon. Please begin.
Trevor Fitzgibbon:
Hey, thanks everybody for joining the call. Sorry, we’re getting started alittle late. There were some journalists getting on. I just want to briefly letyou know who is going to be speaking today. First of all, we’re going tohave Michael Ratner from the Center for Constitutional Rights as well asthe U.S. attorney for WikiLeaks and Julian Assange, will be our firstspeaker. Second speaker will be Julian Assange, the founder ofWikiLeaks. The third speaker is going to be either Jen Robinson, who is ahuman rights attorney as well as a legal adviser to WikiLeaks, as well asKristinn Hrafnsson who is the WikiLeaks press spokesperson.After eachperson’s speech – and they’re going to speak fairly quickly just to provideenough data and make some key points – we will immediately open it upto Q&A and the operator will prompt you to be able to ask a question.Without further ado, I would like to hand it over to Michael Ratner, who isthe President of the Center for Constitutional Rights, as well as the U.S.attorney for Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. Michael?
Michael Ratner:
Thank you and it’s good to be with you. I just wanted to discuss a few ofthe legal issues before we hear from Julian and others. The first is theissue of the application that has apparently been made by EdwardSnowden for asylum from Ecuador. Minister Patino has talked about thatin the recent press conferences, as well as mentioned it, but the Center forConstitutional Rights actually did some work on the initial application for
WIKILEAKS PRESS CONFERENCE06/24/1310:00 am ETPage 2asylum by Julian Assange when he was applying to Ecuador, andsomething that I think most people don’t realize is that under the RefugeeConvention, whistleblowers is an activity – or rather, are people who areprotected by the Refugee Convention under the idea that they’re beingpersecuted for political opinion. The Refugee Convention protects peoplewho are being persecuted for political opinion. Whistleblower activitiescome within that. The United States itself has recognized that. It hasprotected people from China, from other countries in Africa, who arewhistleblowers on their own government’s criminality, on their owngovernment’s corruption. So it’s surprising to me now – although maybenot surprising in this case – to see the United States really ignoring thatand trying to interfere with an application for asylum by a person who hasbeen a, who is a clear whistleblower with regard to the activities of theU.S. government and other governments in the world. I want to make thatstrong point that people should understand, that whistleblowing and theprotection under the Refugee Convention also trumps any efforts toextradite Edward Snowden. If it’s for the same crime, their alleged crimethat they’re trying to extradite him for, it’s the very act that he is protectedfor under the laws of the Refugee Convention and asylum.A second part of that is that there’s supposed to be a non-interference withefforts to gain political asylum. The U.S. is doing everything to interferewith that effort. They’re bullying countries all over the world, even thoughthey have no basis for doing so, bullying them to try and essentially get EdSnowden rendered to the United States where he can be prosecuted for thealleged crimes that they’re trying to prosecute him for.There’s no basis for that. There’s no international legal arrest warrant thatwe know of. The crimes are classic political crimes under any extraditiontreaty, and so that effort is really an effort by a big country to bully othercountries
the biggest country to say, “Send him here,”
when there’s
WIKILEAKS PRESS CONFERENCE06/24/1310:00 am ETPage 3actually no legal basis for it. He’s not a fugitive in any sense of the word.As I said, there’s no arrest warrant. A third point, which I just willreiterate, is that asylum trumps extradition, and a fourth point is that whatwe should be discussing
unlike what seems to be the attention primarilyright now, is that where is Ed Snowden? What country is he going to?
isthe massive surveillance system that is being carried out by the UnitedStates, the UK, and perhaps other countries all over the world, and theviolation of rights of people all over the world, the narrow rights or therights of – first, they’re hacking into everybody’s computers all over theworld and the internet, etcetera, all over the world. There are violations ofthat, violations of all of our rights to privacy, violations in my view on thismassive scale of the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution of the UnitedStates, violations of all kinds of statutes. So we’re seeing a discussion
rather than of the violations of law of the massive invasion of all of ourprivacy
what we’re seeing is looking at the person who is thewhistleblower rather than really discussing what we should be discussing
a massive worldwide surveillance system. So thank you. I just wanted tomake sure you understand that there’s a significant and important legalbasis for Ed Snowden’s application for asylum.
Trevor Fitzgibbon:
Thanks very much, Michael. With that, we’ll turn it over to JulianAssange. Julian?
Julian Assange:
Thank you. Edward Snowden left Hong Kong on the 23
of June, boundfor Ecuador via a safe path through Russia and other states. Mr. Snowdenhas submitted an asylum application to Ecuador and possibly to othercountries. The Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Patino has said that theasylum application is being carefully considered. Mr. Snowden requestedthat WikiLeaks use its legal expertise and experience to secure his safety.The current status of Mr. Snowden and Ms. Harrison
both are healthyand safe. Both are healthy and safe and they are in contact with their legal

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