Julian Assange is Helping Edward Snowden Seek Asylum in Iceland


Credit: Author Espen Moe/wikimedia

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is trying to put a deal together that would allow NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden to be granted asylum in Iceland. Assange, who recently marked his one year anniversary at Ecuador's embassy in London, has spent some time in Iceland, where he worked on the "collateral murder" video with Birgitta Jónsdóttir, who is now an Icelandic member of parliament.

From BuzzFeed:

Wikileaks is "in touch with [Edward] Snowden's legal team," Assange said, and they are "in the process of brokering his asylum in Iceland."

Asked whether Snowden would be able to successfully travel from Hong Kong, where he has been since the leaks to the Guardian, to Iceland, Assange said "All those issues are being looked at by the people involved."

Assange, who was granted asylum at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London a year ago while evading sexual assault charges in Sweden and a Department of Justice investigation into WikiLeaks for the material it received from Bradley Manning, was on a conference call with reporters and with Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg and National Security Agency whistleblower Thomas Drake.

Assange wouldn't directly answer whether he's had personal contact with Snowden, "as a matter of policy." He also wouldn't talk about whether or not he had had contact with Snowden before the leaked material came out.

Snowden, who is currently in Hong Kong, will have to be in Iceland to apply for asylum, which may not be as easy as Snowden hoped considering that Iceland's new prime minister may not be keen to foster his country's reputation as a haven for transparency activists.  

While Snowden may want to head to Iceland his father recently urged him to come home to face justice and not face "treason," a charge some experts think would be hard to pin on him. American officials have yet to formally charge Snowden with anything and have not filed any extradition requests.

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  1. If Snowden is dumb enough to head to Iceland, then he can expect to be in a black bag on his way to a CIA interrogation center pretty quickly.

    He should stay in Hong Kong, insulated from American agents by the anonymity of a massive population in a bustling city.

  2. Assange is quite the publicity whore – for instance lots of people game money to him after he led them to believe he would use it to help defend Bradley Manning, and last I heard he still hadn’t forwarded on thin dime of it (using it to fund Wikileaks operations instead)

    My guess is that Snowden will stay in the PRC because that is where he is in the least danger.

    1. I thought Manning was afforded counsel for free since his is a military trial. Hopefully Assange will be there to step in when/if Manning wins that case and the Obama DoJ decides that “Double Jeopardy” is a segment on a game show and not a legal principle.

      1. Maybe John would know this for sure, but I think they would be unable to prosecute in federal court for the same case if he’d already been tried and not convicted by a military court. It’s not, legally speaking, double jeopardy if there’s a federal prosecution after a state trial (it should be, but that’s the federal government for you), but since both of the situations you describe are federal, you’d think double jeopardy would apply.

      2. A military lawyer is provided for free. However, under the UCMJ, the accused may also hire, at his own expense, civilian lawyers to defend him, either in conjunction with or as an alternative to the JAG lawyer.

        My impression of the JAG defense lawyers is that they are very good and very dedicated to mounting a vigorous defense and certainly in the Guantanamo hearings in the 2000’s, they withstood incredible institutional pressure to defend their clients’ right to fair trials and a chance to confront the witnesses against them with pretty good success.

  3. I don’t think Snowden could ever travel anywhere without being “diverted” to an American holding facility.

    I wonder what the international reaction would be if a commercial airliner leaving Hong Kong were escorted by American fighters* to Honolulu in order to remove Snowden from the plane.

    *Ten years ago, I would have considered this to be too ridiculous for a bad action movie; now, it seems completely believable. Especially with the Peacenik-in-Chief in the White House,

    1. If that happened, I’m willing to bet you the UN wouldn’t stand for it and would write a sternly-worded letter.

    2. I don’t know if it would be anything that unsubtle. Probably snatching him at an airport terminal and onto a waiting Lear jet.

    3. I think he could drive through China and Russia and take a boat from some Russian Atlantic/Arctic port and probably be OK.

      1. Uhh, and said boat would be nicely intercepted by a USN ship.

        Hopefully, it would be the USS Colorado.

    4. I wonder what the international reaction would be if a commercial airliner…was escorted by American fighters* to Honolulu in order to remove [someone] from the plane.

      Wouldn’t be the first time. Logistics would be a bit trickier, considering the distances in the Pacific vs. the Med.

  4. Subtlety is so twentieth century.

  5. Snowden’s dad either hates his son or is an idiot.

    1. Or he’s hosting a federal agency dance party in his living room. It’s tough not to be a team player when you’ve got a house full of guests

      1. Seriously, the only thing missing from that interview where masked men holding guns to his head.

    2. Just the opposite actually. The son is stupid and of weak character, while the father is smart and of strong character.

        1. God I’m adorable.

  6. The only where he can go without getting nabbed by Capn Dronebots goons, is Russia.

    They won’t actually have to even nab him. As soon as he arrives in Iceland, the authorities will hand him over. He can’t be that stupid, I don’t think that he is.

    1. If Hong Kong won’t let him stay, that’s where he should go.

      He’d probably live well there.

  7. “Transparency Activists” need to take a page from Ghandi, MLK, and Mandela, and stop running from authorities.

    Edward Snowden, if he’s any kind of serious activist and man, needs to come home and face the music.

    Listen to your father Edward because he’s apparently smarter than you and has more character.

    1. Completely wrong. Snowden was smart to stay out of the country, but you could argue about the wisdom of openly outing himself.

      The man is under no obligation to facilitate his own persecution.

      1. He should though if he wants to facilitate real change and be a leader of a movement.

        Like you said, he’s the one who outed himself and is wanting to talk.

        1. I don’t think he’s interested in being the leader of a movement. I imagine he outed himself as a defense against being secretly murder-droned.

          1. That’s nonsense.

            And if he didn’t want to be a leader of a movement he wouldn’t be talking and I mean talking a lot.

  8. My advice would be to run far away from Julian Douchebag if you want to keep your popularity and principles.

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