Stranded at a hotel in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport, Ed Snowden has been helped by Russian officials to apply for temporary asylum in the country.
He is effectively trapped in Russia because the US government has cancelled his passport. He has been offered asylum by a number of Latin American countries, but without papers further cross-border travel is impossible.
It’s strange that his documents weren’t cancelled immediately when the government found out he had taken flight. Could it be that his being on Russian soil when his documents were cancelled was a calculated move on the part of the government? Why were there ‘mistakes’ on the extradition paperwork that could have brought him back to the United States? Why not cancel his documentation before issuing extradition paperwork in order to prevent him leaving Hong Kong in the first place?
It’s a well-known fact that the United States and Russia hold opposing views on some major issues such as the siting of US bases in Eastern Europe and the handling of the Syrian conflict. With President Obama due to visit Russia in September, and the US maintaining their stance that he should not be allowed onward travel, Russia is in a political tight spot.
President Putin has said that if Snowden is allowed to stay in Russia, he has to agree that he will not continue to leak information about the NSA or harm US interests in any way while he is on Russian soil. Snowden has confirmed he will not violate this condition.
Anatoly Kucherena, a lawyer with strong ties to the Kremlin said:
“He reached the conclusion that he needs to write an application for temporary asylum, and this procedure has just been done,” said Anatoly Kucherena, a lawyer with strong links with the Kremlin who helped Mr Snowden with the paperwork…For now he is not going to go anywhere. For now he plans to stay in Russia.”
Mr Kucherena said the fugitive had stated in the application that he faced possible torture and execution if he returned to the US. (source)
Ed Snowden has made 21 requests for asylum. Three countries, Bolivia, Nicaragua and Venezuela have indicated they would most likely grant it. In the meantime he sits in a hotel in Moscow, no doubt wondering where he is going to end up; and, more importantly, if he is going to survive unlike so many whistleblowers before him.
Chris Carrington is a writer, researcher and lecturer with a background in science, technology and environmental studies. Chris is an editor for The Daily Sheeple, where this article first appeared. Wake the flock up!
|FREE Copy of the American Expat Guide|