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article imageAssange: Snowden 'safe and healthy' — did not disclose location

By Anne Sewell     Jun 24, 2013 in World
Moscow - While mystery currently surrounds the location of the NSA whistleblower, Edward Snowden, reportedly heading to Cuba for onward travel to Ecuador, but not seen on the plane, we hear that he is safe and well. Updated with video.
In a live conference call between Julian Assange and RT News on Monday, Assange advised that both Edward Snowden and Wikileaks' Sarah Harrison are “safe and sound.”
“I cannot give further information as to their whereabouts,” the WikiLeaks founder added. “Snowden is not a traitor, he is not a spy, he is a whistleblower who told the public the important truth.”
Update: The whole speech by Assange in the conference call is now included above.
Snowden is a former CIA contractor who carried out one of the biggest leaks in US history by exposing a top-secret NSA surveillance program called PRISM to the media. The leak revealed that leading tech companies were involved in intelligence gathering through this tool.
Ecuador s diplomatic car awaiting Edward Snowden at Moscow Airport
Ecuador's diplomatic car awaiting Edward Snowden at Moscow Airport
YouTube / Screengrab
Digital Journal reported that Snowden had left Hong Kong on Sunday on a commercial flight to Moscow. On arrival, two diplomatic cars belonging to Ecuador were parked at the terminal.
Shortly after this Digital Journal reported that Ecuador's foreign minister Ricardo Patiño had confirmed a request for political asylum in that country by Snowden and that Ecuador would be considering this request.
It was heard that Snowden would be heading to Ecuador as a final destination, possibly via Cuba.
According to RT, Patiño had stressed that the Ecuadorian government puts human rights above any other party’s interests, and questioned the correctness of calling Snowden a “traitor.”
“The word 'treason' is used, but who has betrayed whom? Is it people who've been betrayed, or certain elites?” Patiño asked, adding that the decision would come “in due time.”
Patiño was asked how granting asylum to Snowden could affect Ecuador's relations with the US.
"We are analyzing it with a lot of responsibility," Patiño told reporters in Hanoi, Vietnam, where he is currently on an official visit, adding that the decision has to do “with freedom of expression and with the security of citizens around the world."
“We always act in the name of principles not in our own interests. There are governments who make decisions more according to their own interests, we don’t do that. Our main focus is human rights,” said Patiño.
Snowden was to be flying to Havana, Cuba this morning. However, according to RT's correspondent Egor Piskunov who was on the plane, the flight Snowden was booked on had departed, but he was not seen either boarding the plane, or seated on the plane itself.
Piskunov had said that the media presence in the boarding lounge of the airport was “astonishing.”
Pisknunov reported from the plane saying, “Mr. Snowden has so far not been seen, but something out of the ordinary is definitely happening, judging by the security and the amount of media.”
According to Russian news agency Itar-Tass, a member of the airport's security team had confirmed that Snowden had not left Moscow's Sheremetyevo International Airport's transit zone.
“Snowden has been waiting for a connecting flight in the transit area. He had not passed either border or passport control. Formally, he did not cross the Russian border,” the sources said.
“Snowden did not leave on the Aeroflot flight to Havana and is still in the transit zone,” said the source.
An Interfax source had speculated that Snowden had bought another ticket with a transfer to Cuba, as “there are no direct flights to Quito and Caracas.”
Reuters reported that US Secretary of State John Kerry said during a visit to India that it would be "deeply troubling" if Moscow defied the United States over Snowden, saying that the fugitive "places himself above the law, having betrayed his country".
However the Russian government ignored the appeal and President Vladimir Putin's press secretary denied any knowledge of Snowden's movements.
Reuters did post a breaking news note that WikiLeaks had said that Snowden was supplied with a refugee document of passage by Ecuadorean government, as his US passport had been revoked.
WikiLeaks lawyer, Baltasar Garzón, released a press statement on the WikiLeaks website, stating that Snowden had requested his legal advice, but saying he will require more information before making any decision in this regard:
This serves to inform that Mr. Edward Snowden has requested my legal advice. However, before making any decision in this regard I have requested more information that will allow me to study and assess the case in depth as well as to speak to Mr. Snowden. Therefore, I do not currently represent Mr. Edward Snowden. I do defend the right of freedom of expression and freedom of information. The same rights I defend in the Assange and WikiLeaks cases and in other cases where the release of information that reveals criminality is met with the persecution of those who expose it.
The video contains a telephonic conference call with Julian Assange on Snowden and Bradley Manning.
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