Assange: Britain loyal to U.S. in NSA leaker case

LONDON Fri Jun 14, 2013 4:08pm EDT

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange makes a speech from the balcony of Ecuador's Embassy, in central London December 20, 2012. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange makes a speech from the balcony of Ecuador's Embassy, in central London December 20, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Luke MacGregor

LONDON (Reuters) - Wikileaks founder Julian Assange said on Friday that Britain had prevented NSA leaker Edward Snowden from flying to London out of loyalty to its ally, the United States.

In an interview given to Reuters and others ahead of the first anniversary of his seeking refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy in London, Assange said he was concerned by reports that Britain had told airlines to stop Snowden from flying to London.

A spokesman for Britain's Home Office declined to comment on reports Britain had told airlines around the world to block Snowden, as did a spokesman for Prime Minister David Cameron.

"The British government refused entry to this country of Edward Snowden. Why? Presumably because it doesn't want to end up with another Julian Assange," Assange said.

"The British government should be offering Mr Snowden asylum, not excluding him. I'm sure if you ask the population of the UK what they want, they want to protect Mr Snowden."

Snowden, a former U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) contractor, revealed information about the U.S. PRISM broad electronic surveillance system and fled to Hong Kong.

Assange, who remain in Ecuador's embassy for fear of arrest over Swedish sex allegations and possible extradition to the United States over Wikileaks' disclosure of U.S. government documents, said Britain's decision to block Snowden was misguided.

"The rule of law has come under strain in the UK. This is another example. The United Kingdom doesn't want to say no to the United States under any circumstances. Not in my case, and not in the case of Mr Snowden."

When asked about his own contacts with Snowden, Assange said he couldn't comment on "source-related issues".

Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino is due to meet British Foreign Secretary William Hague in London on Monday to discuss Assange's case.

Assange denies the sexual allegations against him by two women in Sweden, but his supporters say they fear Sweden would extradite him to the United States if he agreed to go there.

Assange said he was encouraged by Snowden's actions.

"In the United States the ideals that I have fought for so long are now catching on, being embodied in the extraordinary courage of individuals such as Edward Snowden. The renewed political and popular support for whistleblowers such as Edward Snowden shows that the times are changing."

(Editing by Michael Roddy)

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Comments (10)
elpaso wrote:
“He’s a traitor,” House Speaker John Boehner said of Snowden in an interview with ABC News. He defended the NSA programs and their congressional oversight, saying Americans are not “snooped on” unless they communicate with a terrorist in another country. “The disclosure of this information puts Americans at risk, it shows… our adversaries what our capabilities are, and it’s a giant violation of the law,” Boehner said.’’

Jun 14, 2013 5:09pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
reallymad wrote:
Everyone needs to send the following to their elected representatives (remember they are in DC to represent YOU!!) to let them know you want to OPT OUT of the NSA’s dragnet! I DID!!

“Given that probable cause exists my Verizon account information has been included in national security databases and memory storage devices, I, name, Verizon telephone number, a natural born or naturalized citizen of the United States of America, in the utter absence of probable cause crimes have occurred or will occur and pursuant to the first and forth amendments to the Constitution of the United States of America, hereby demand that any data referencing said Verizon account information held in said databases and memory storage devices past, present or future be permanently and completely deleted. I further demand that, given probable cause exists said Verizon account information has been included in said databases and memory storage devices, independent verification is forwarded to me that all searches and queries of said Verizon account information within said databases and memory storage devices return a null and void response.”

Jun 14, 2013 5:23pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
forzapista wrote:
The British are such wimps.
Washington says. “London, jump for me.”
London says. “Yes Master, how high Master?”

Jun 14, 2013 5:28pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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