Originally posted at 08:30 and first updated at 12:43.
MOSCOW, June 27 (RIA Novosti) – Ecuadorian authorities did not issue any travel document for fugitive former CIA employee Edward Snowden, wanted by the United States for leaking state secrets, Ecuador’s acting foreign minister said on Wednesday.
“This is untrue. No Ecuadorean consulate has ever issued a passport or other document [to Snowden],” said Galo Galarza, who is standing in for the country’s foreign minister Ricardo Patino, who is currently on a tour of Asia.
Galarza’s statement was posted on the website of private Ecuadorian TV station Teleamazonas.
On the same day, Latin American news website Univision Noticias published a "safepass" in Snowden's name purportedly issued by the general consul of Ecuador in London "to allow the bearer to travel to the territory of Ecuador for the purpose of political asylum." Calls to the Ecuadorian consulate in London to verify the authenticity of the document went unanswered on Thursday morning.
Patino said in a Twitter message earlier Wednesday that that his government could take “a day, a week, a month or even two months as it was in [WikiLeaks founder Julian] Assange’s case” to decide whether to grant asylum to Snowden.
The foreign minister of Ecuador earlier said that Snowden, who is wanted by the United States for disclosing a top-secret surveillance program that allegedly targeted millions of Americans, had requested political asylum in his country.
Meanwhile, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said Snowden is “almost sure” to get political asylum in his country if he files a formal request.
Snowden reportedly took a plane from Hong Kong to Moscow on Sunday. After two days of intense media speculation about his whereabouts, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that he was in Moscow in an unspecified transit area, presumably at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport, and that Russia was under no legal obligation to hand him over to the United States.
The head of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Robert Menendez, warned Ecuador that it might lose its preferential trade status if it offers asylum to Snowden. He also called on Russia to stop sheltering the fugitive.
Meanwhile, a member of the Russian Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights, Kirill Kabanov, said he had asked his colleagues to consider asking the Russian leadership to grant political asylum to Snowden.
The council’s chairman, Mikhail Fedotov, replied that the request would be considered and put to a vote.
"If an issue like that gains the support of the majority of the council’s members, then it can be considered a request on behalf of the whole council. Once the vote secures 31 votes [in favor], a document is considered to be accepted,” he said.
Updated with details of published "safepass" document. Corrected to reflect Putin's reference to an unspecified transit area, rather than Sheremetyevo Airport specifically.
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- bielecPossibilities are many…12:28, 27/06/2013...and we will probably never know which of them are true and which are false.
Webster Tarpley promotes an idea that the “Snowjob” aims at weakening Obama and his unwillingness to unleash a full scale US military intervention in Syria. He has put together some good arguments in support of such a possibility.
Naomi Wolf questions the authenticity of Snowden’s narrative and suspects a complex and highly sophisticated professional psych op behind it. In the process, she effectively plants a seed of fear in the hearts of potential activists who want to challenge the American police state and its measures.
Here are some other opinions - a selection of reader comments from Naomi Wolf’s blog:
“Has everyone forgotten that this “whistleblowing” happened a week after Obama suggested that we end the endless war, and with it the reasons for having an unfettered surveillance state? /…/ My ever optimistic theory is that Obama put him [Snowden] up to it to make it easier to dismantle the apparatus of the Patriot Act. Can you think of a better way to get that started and get the people behind it?” – (Dale)
“…the powers that be have fineness the art of CONFUSING the population with ‘excess’ information. Its purpose is to IMMOBILIZE the public with so many ‘alternative’ possibilities that we can’t do anything. Snowden is a hero; no, he’s a ‘triple’ agent. Come on, where can we go with this? Who benefits from our inability to discern ‘reality’?” – (Lourdes)
[Are people like Webster Tarpley and Naomi Wolf] “part of a disinformation black-op intent on rendering our minds immobilized with so much DOUBT?” – (Lourdes)
“If there is a germ of truth in your ideas, Naomi, then it could be a sign that the games have begun. That we are being deceived yet again; to further the Elites’ agenda of keeping the common plebe off balance while their plans unfold quietly behind the scenes; a mind picture of the Wizard of Oz being revealed as Toto pulls open the curtain is vivid.” – (TommyD)
There are others who argue that Snowden is a distraction from current developments in Syria (e.g., Infowars)or a genuine case of an authentic whistleblower who did what he did for the greater good of the society (e.g., Steve Lendman).
I keep thinking that the corporate media are very good at hiding or omitting information that the elites want to suppress. Here we have the opposite.
Finally, there are those who suggest that we stick to the issues involved and not to the actors:
1. We should oppose an illegal, very costly, and potentially risky war with Syria;
2. We should oppose police state measures in our Homeland;
3. We should prepare for a peaceful action to force our government and our media to respect democracy and to prevent the elites from hijacking it, which would require a modification of our political and economic system -(e.g., general strike, election boycott, etc.) It had been done before and it worked.
The main event of the third day of the 11th meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club in Sochi was the closing session with President Vladimir Putin. The atmosphere was calm and open, despite the current political tensions and the Russia-West confrontation. The Russian president said that it corresponded to the spirit of the Valdai Club.