Thoughts on Snowden’s asylum claims

News that Edward Snowden has applied for asylum in 21 countries – and withdrawn his application to Russia – sounds like he’s desperate to get out of wherever he is holed up in Moscow airport. Apparently he’s in a hotel but no one has seen him. It got me thinking:

– Snowden is privileged as asylum seekers go. He has money, influence, skills, friends at Wikileaks and elsewhere, and now he is at the centre of power-play between countries. He’s not going to have to wait years in limbo like most asylum seekers in the UK and elsewhere, penniless, with little hope of creating a future or family because they can’t work. He has his pride.

– It must be pretty scary that Ecuador has been bullied into refusing him asylum. I had a taste of the state’s power when Keith was arrested when he protested at RAF Waddington against drones last month: police raided our house and took our computers leaving no receipt or breakdown of where they searched. We’ve since requested one, and for our computers to be returned: nothing. It leaves us with a strange feeling. We hadn’t anticipated the raid, yet we brought it on ourselves to an extent, knowing that it had to be done for integrity’s sake and the common good.

– The most isolating aspect of activism is when people don’t stand with you, so I’m so glad that the people of Russia are rallying behind Snowden. Whether this is because they support his anti-secrecy actions, or because he is an anti-government figurehead, who knows. Some might support him out of hatred for the US. But whatever the reasons, activists need to feel loved. Fortunately Keith and the Waddington six have plenty of supporters joining them for the interim hearing at Lincoln Magistrates Court on Thursday (4th July).


About sophiehebden

Science writer and editor, I mostly write about space and fundamental questions in physics.
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