With regard to National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, it looks like the United States’ international hegemonic policies have encouraged a number of foreign leaders to question the Nation’s dedication to justice and resist calls to turn the whistle-blower over to U.S. authorities.
There is a noticeable disconnect between what U.S. officials say on the international stage about the need to protect whistle-blowers and dissidents, and how officials go about dealing with people who engage in those activities at home.
As of Monday, Russian and Ecuadorian officials were in close contact discussing options for providing asylum from U.S. prosecution to Snowden, who traveled to Russia at the invitation of government officials over the weekend.
The Administration of President Barack Obama, a bipartisan troop of American establishment lawmakers and U.S. prosecutors have already declared Snowden a traitor and charged him with spying under the outdated Espionage Act of 1917. Meanwhile, Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino asked a question Monday that is likely on the minds of most average Americans: Has Snowden really betrayed average Americans and their safety, or did he simply ruffle the feathers of the Nation’s powerful elite?
Ecuador is considering offering Snowden permanent asylum, questioning whether the whistle-blower has any real chance of receiving a fair trial in his home country. The nation’s leaders say they feel compelled to offer Snowden asylum because they operate under a policy of placing human rights before the interests of any party. Furthermore, Ecuadorian officials say it doesn’t make sense that a man who revealed rights abuses would face prosecution from the alleged abusers.
“It should be asked, who betrayed whom,” Patino stressed, as he questioned calling Snowden’s leak “treason.”
“Is this betraying the citizens of the world, or betraying some elites that are in power in a certain country?” the Minister pondered.
In making his case for asylum to the international community, Snowden has plenty of examples to strengthen his argument. He has frequently referenced the Federal government’s treatment of Pfc. Bradley Manning leading up to his court martial for leaking Army documents to Wikileaks. That leak turned international opinion strongly against the United States, as it highlighted possible war crimes at the hands of American soldiers.
“It is unlikely that I will have a fair trial or humane treatment before trial, and also I have the risk of life imprisonment or death,” Snowden said in his asylum bid.
Meanwhile, the U.S. State Department has doubled down on portraying Snowden as a traitor. Secretary of State John Kerry chided nations that have helped Snowden evade U.S. officials.
“There would be without any question some effect and impact on the relationship” with the United States if foreign actions were helping the whistle-blower skirt American prosecution.
“There is a surrender treaty with Hong Kong and, if there was adequate notice, I don’t know yet what the communication status was, but if there was, it would be very disappointing if he was willfully allowed to board an airplane as a result,” Kerry said. “With respect to Russia, likewise.”
As for Ecuador, officials in the nation appear poised to reject U.S. efforts to prosecute Snowden as well.
“The relationship between the U.S. and Ecuador should be based on respect for the sovereignty of both countries and our actions are founded on our principles. We consider the consequences of our decisions, but we act in the name of our principles,” said Patino.