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Q: Edward Snowden, what punishment will he get if he is taken back to America?

8 years 14 weeks ago in  Relationships - China

 
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May 25, 2021 16:34   surprise Celebration and calls for pardon after European court rules UK spy agency GCHQ’s online snooping was illegal

‘Snowden was right’: Celebration and calls for pardon after European court rules UK spy agency GCHQ’s online snooping was illegal

After winning a landmark ruling against the UK’s GCHQ spy agency, activist groups praised former NSA contractor Edward Snowden for blowing the lid off the UK’s surveillance regime. Activists called yet again for his pardoning.

In a ruling issued on Tuesday morning, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) declared that GCHQ’s bulk interception of online communications, which was first brought to light by former US National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden in 2013, was illegal. GCHQ stands for Government Communications Headquarters.

In its findings, the ECHR found three “fundamental deficiencies” in the GCHQ’s interception process: it had been authorised by a politician and not an independent body, search terms that would be flagged by the spy agency had not been included in the application for a warrant, and search terms linked to individuals – for example names, email addresses, and phone numbers – had not been authorised internally prior to their use.

Former Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger, who published Snowden’s revelations in 2013 and destroyed hard drives belonging to the whistleblower rather than handing them over to the government, celebrated the ruling. “It’s taken a long time,” he tweeted, “but turns out @Snowden was right.”

Big Brother Watch, a state-surveillance watchdog involved in the case against GCHQ, described the court’s ruling as “a finding that vindicates @Snowden's whistleblowing.”

Snowden himself downplayed his own significance. “Without journalists to tell the story, the public would not have known about it. Without human right lawyers defending that public, the courts would not have cared about it. Without those courts, politicians would still be denying it,” he tweeted, adding “I could not have done this alone.”

However, Snowden remains in exile in Moscow, and is still wanted by US authorities on espionage charges. With his passport canceled by Washington, Russia remains a safe haven for Snowden, and earlier this year he applied for Russian citizenship. Following the ECHR’s verdict, Big Brother Watch Director Silkie Carlo called on European leaders to protect Snowden, saying that he “clearly deserves the protection of democratic nations across Europe for his selfless defence of human rights."

Yet even if Snowden were to have a passport, leaving Russia would be fraught with danger. Back in 2013, Bolivian President Evo Morales found his plane forced to land in Austria after officials in France, Italy and Spain closed their airspace due to a tip-off that Snowden was on board. Snowden was in fact in Moscow, and the US is believed to have been behind the tip-off and grounding.

Snowden’s supporters have long called for his pardoning, and in the final days of the Trump administration, rumors circulated that the Republican president would grant him, and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, a pardon – if for no other reason than a shared animosity toward the US’ intelligence agencies and ‘deep state’. However, a pardon never materialized, and the Biden administration has given zero indication that it will entertain the idea.

Nevertheless, calls for a pardon proliferated online after the ECHR’s ruling.

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https://www.rt.com/news/533751-assange-snowden-nobel-prize/

 

‘It will never happen’: Snowden laughs off suggestion Julian Assange or himself would ever get Nobel Peace Prize

 

 Snowden laughs off suggestion Julian Assange or himself would ever get Nobel Peace Prize

 

There is zero chance that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange would receive the Nobel Peace Prize, but it’s not like he wants one, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden said.

Snowden burst into laughter during an interview with the Russian media on Thursday, when the host asked him if Assange or he could imagine their nominations for the prestigious international award lead to either of them receiving it. “It will never happen,” he assured.

“The thing is, someone like Julian Assange does not take the risks he has taken for a chance to win some award,” Snowden added. “And I think doing good deeds is the only reward that is required.”

Other questions were about personal matters, like Snowden’s progress in learning the Russian language. Snowden has been living in the country since 2013, when he got stranded at a Moscow airport after his passport was revoked by the US government during his transit flight from Hong Kong to Latin America. Moscow offered him asylum and later permanent residency for himself and his wife, Lindsay Mills.

Snowden acknowledged that his Russian will likely never be as good as a native speaker’s and said that some day his son, whom Mills gave birth to in Russia, would teach him the language. He also joked that his 2017 marriage proposal to Mills was rather belated and that if had waited any longer, “she probably would have taken it personally.”

The interview was part of an event dedicated to the beginning of the school year in Russia.

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