Facebook Given Better Gender Option For Users

In today’s society, there are a wide range of genders that the public would class themselves as. Facebook‘s official diversity account has now announced a new feature to the gender input process, where users can now choose a custom gender which allows them to enter whatever they want into the box. This feature would give the user more freedom when describing themselves if they feel they do not fit within the genders groups previously given. The box also has a drop down menu if the user wishes to choose a preset option suggested by Facebook.

“We recognize that some people face challenges sharing their true gender identity with others, and this setting gives people the ability to express themselves in an authentic way,” the unnamed Diversity account holder said.

This update follows a decision made last year by Facebook to expand its gender options; previously set to male, female and no response. Facebook did introduce an ‘other’ box, but this only allowed the user to choose from a wider range of terms suggested from terms entered into this box. This new descriptor can then be set to be viewed in their profile publicly, by friends or hidden (which sort of defeats the use of this box). The user can also choose a preferred pronoun from the list: him, her or they/them.

Well done to Facebook for giving this freedom to its users, another set closer to gender equality.

Thanks to ArsTechnica for this information

John McAfee Tells Google Users to “Wise Up”

John McAfee has one of the best known names in the industry and often finds himself the focus of unique and interesting tales, today is no different.  The cybersecuity pioneer has spoken out at Google users, telling them to wise up.

“Google … would like us to believe that if we have nothing to hide, we should not mind if everybody knows everything that we do,” McAfee at his appearance at this months Defcon in Las Vegas. “If everybody knew everything about everybody else, what would human behavior become?” McAfee asks. “You need to think this through.”

He didn’t stop there either, and he has given a call to arms for privacy. “We cannot have intrusions into our lives and still have freedom,” he said.

He does have a point and I’m sure there are many out there thinking the same. On the other side of things I’m sure there are many of you who simply don’t care about how your data is shared or stored, but with major tech companies and NSA constantly in the headlines in recent years over multiple privacy scandals, surely something has to be done.

Check out the full video here.

Thank you VentureBeat for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of VentureBeat.

The NSA Touches “Only 1.6%” Of Daily Global Internet Traffic

According to a report by Russia Today the NSA is claiming that it “only touches 1.6%” of daily internet traffic. By the standards of percentages, 1.6% is relatively low, but if you factor in just how much 1.6% of daily global traffic would be, well according to the NSA’s own figures it equates to 29.216 Petabytes of the total 1,826 Petabytes transferred daily. To anyone with some basic knowledge that is a lot of information the NSA is able to “touch”.

“According to figures published by a major tech provider, the Internet carries 1,826 Petabytes of information per day. In its foreign intelligence mission, NSA touches about 1.6% of that. However, of the 1.6% of the data, only 0.025% is actually selected for review.” The NSA report stated.

With the NSA claiming to only review 0.025% of that 1.6%, it means each day they review about 0.7304 Petabytes of data. To put that into context the NSA reviews everyday 765,880 Gigabytes of data. Yet the NSA still claims, after reviewing that much data every day, that:

“We do not need to sacrifice civil liberties for the sake of national security; both are integral to who we are as Americans. NSA can and will continue to conduct its operations in a manner that respects both.”

At the end of all that comes the questions. What do they do with the 1.6% of data they touch every day? What does the “review process” entail for that 0.7304 Petabytes of data every day? Are their figures even accurate or truthful? What even gives them the right to touch 1.6% of “global” internet traffic, which is outside their legal jurisdiction of the USA?

What are your thoughts on the NSA “only touching 1.6%” of global internet traffic?

Image courtesy of Heavy.com

North Korean Tablet Shown On Video

North Korea is a very isolated nation when it comes to the latest “technology and gadgets”. Much of this is due to the rather secretive nature of the North Korean government and administration. A tablet spotted on YouTube via NorthKoreanTech reveals that very dubious nature of North Korea’s economy and personal freedoms.

The Samjiyon Android Tablet looks just like any other Asian tablet. It features a 1.2GHz ARM CPU, 1GB of RAM, a 7 inch 1024 by 768 pixel display, 8 or 16GB of storage and the Android 4.0.4 ICS operating system. Additionally it comes with Angry Birds Rio and some “Juche Study Books” pre-installed. However, the normality ends there. The device does not have WiFi or any other connectivity and simply features an antenna that connects to the North Korean intranet (domestic-only “internet”). This antenna pulls out of the tablet very much like a stylus except it looks like a TV Antenna.

The tablet will cost $200/€200 for North Koreans. To check out the full review of the North Korean tablet see NorthKoreanTech.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=awtOQXz_8Dc[/youtube]

Image courtesy of Martyn Williams (YouTube)

Snowden Is Now Protected From Deportation Or Extradition

Russia Today reports that with Edward Snowden now having secured temporary asylum in Russia he can no longer be legally extradited or deported to the USA, except with his own permission. Legal experts have stated that Russia have acted in accordance with international laws on refugees and persecuted peoples. As a result Edward Snowden is now legally protected within Russia and any extradition requests by the USA would be illegal so Russia does not have to address them. Furthermore Russia has also done everything “by the book” with regards to the Snowden case so if the USA take strong offensive actions against Russia they would be frowned upon at an international level for breaking international laws.

 [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIDtu0rhAl0[/youtube]

Since Snowden has received such legal protection and relative impunity within Russia he now has no reason to travel on to some Latin American nations like previously planned. Of course were his legal circumstances in Russia to change he may have to consider moving elsewhere. Apparently if the USA withdraws its international charges against Edward Snowden then his refugee or asylum status could be revoked but that seems unlikely to happen in the near future.

Image courtesy of AFP Photo / Human Rights Watch

Snowden Is Granted 1 Year Aslyum In Russia, Leaves Airport

It has been a long wait and a steep uphill struggle for Edward Snowden, but finally he has been delivered some good news. Russia have decided to grant Edward Snowden the formal paperwork needed for temporary asylum in Russia for a period of 1 year according to Russia Today.

“I have just handed over to him papers from the Russian Immigration Service. They are what he needs to leave the transit zone,” Snowden’s legal representative Anatoly Kucherena told Interfax.

Edward Snowden has already left the transit zone of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport where he has been stuck for a couple of months now in political limbo. Edward Snowden had been offered permanent asylum in other nations such as Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia but due to difficulties with getting to those countries safely he had chosen to pursue asylum in Russia where he currently resides. That is despite accepting the offers from Latin American countries. His temporary asylum will last a year and after which he may choose to pursue a longer term solution in Russia or move to another nation where he has been offered asylum.

Snowden’s legal representatives applied for his temporary asylum during last month and so the process took around 3 weeks to be completed. His legal representatives have stated he intends to live and work in Russia and will attempt to secure permanent residency so he can rebuild his life there.

Image courtesy of Business Insider

Putin Says He Is Unaware Of Snowden’s Russian Citizenship Intentions

According to Russia Today Russian President Vladimir Putin says he knows nothing of Edward Snowden’s intention to become a Russian citizen. His personal spokesperson stated that:

“I do not know whether he filed all the documents and what he is asking for. As I said earlier, this is not the issue that the president’s administration tracks online”

Furthermore Putin’s spokesperson claims that Russia’s stance on Edward Snowden has not changed and that:

“Russia has never extradited anyone and will not do so. However, no one is permitted to engage in any activity that may harm bilateral Russian-American relations, whether it is Snowden or not”

Additionally he addressed reports which state Barack Obama is going to cancel his visit to Moscow over the Snowden incident are unknown to the Russian government and that they have received no formal notification from the Obama administration suggesting the trip will be cancelled.

Image courtesy of RIA Novosti/Aleksey Nikolskyi

Venezuela Attacks The USA’s Meddling Agenda

RT reports that Venezuela’s foreign ministry has blasted Washington for their diplomatic conduct. Venezuela has described the USA actions as demonstrating a “meddling agenda” and as a result they ended current diplomatic negotiations stating “The Bolivarian Republican of Venezuela considers the diplomatic processes initiated in Guatemala over”.

Venezuela’s statements were in response to the US candidate for ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, who said she’d end human rights abuses and repression in Cuba and Venezuela. Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela’s president, stated that:

“Power says she’ll fight repression in Venezuela? What repression? There is repression in the United States, where they kill African-Americans with impunity, and where they hunt the youngster Edward Snowden just for telling the truth”

Venezuela’s minister of foreign affairs, Elias Jaua, stated that:

“The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela will never accept meddling in its internal affairs. We reject the fact that a nominee for the post of UN ambassador has interference in Venezuela on her agenda…[Venezuela] has fully demonstrated that it has a solid base in its constitution that guarantees the preservation of the practice and respect for Human Rights”

Venezuela have stated they wish to build good relations with the USA but that these must be based on mutual respect for sovereignty and self-determination.

These strong words from Venezuela come after the the U.S secretary of state John Kerry threatened Venezuela with political and economic sanctions if they offer NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden political asylum. Venezuela has offered Edward Snowden asylum, to the joy of human rights groups, and the USA is trying to block this despite having a pro-human rights agenda.

Image courtesy of AFP Photo / Leo Ramirez

U.S-Russian Relations Above Snowden Case Says Putin

According to RT Vladimir Putin has reiterated that U.S-Russian relations are more important than the Edward Snowden case. Despite contrary media reports, Putin says he has no intention of sacrificing relations over one man. Putin reiterated that Moscow would not tolerate any anti-US activity and although he did not warn of any implications of such activities it is theoretically possible that Russia could deport or extradite Snowden to the USA if he doesn’t comply with Russian conditions of stay. When asked how he is controlling Snowden’s activity Putin said:

“I won’t give you any details. We have warned Snowden that any activity of his that could damage US-Russian relations is unacceptable for us.”

Edward Snowden has applied for temporary asylum in Russia and it could take up to three months for it to be processed. Furthermore, Edward Snowden could be transferred to refugee centre while his request is processed. Snowden has indicated his willingness to remain quiet in terms of releasing new leaks while he is in Russia. Edward Snowden has been stuck at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport since June 23rd. The U.S government has issued several statements asking Russia to cooperate and send Snowden back to the USA but Russia has so far stated it has no extradition treaty with the USA and will not extradite Snowden back to the USA as a result.

Image courtesy of RIA Novosti/Aleksey Nikolskyi

U.S Official Urges Obama To Use “Any And All Pressure” On Russia To Get Snowden

Congressman Michael McCaul, U.S House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee Chairman, has stated that he believes Edward Snowden is a traitor to the USA who has put national security at risk. He claims that with Edward Snowden seeking asylum in Russia he is “running for cover with our enemies”. As far as he is concerned Russia is making a mockery of American foreign policy. Despite what Russian officials have said about not extracting any information from Edward Snowden Congressman Michael McCaul says everyday they are taking more and more.

Michael McCaul attacked the Obama administration stating that this is a test of U.S foreign policy and diplomacy and that he would score them low marks for what they have done so far to try and get Edward Snowden back. Michael McCaul attacks Snowden too and says it is ironic that he is “a defender of freedom” yet is fleeing to nations “that oppress freedom” such as Russia, China and Venezuela.

When asked what should the Obama administration do to get Snowden back Michael McCaul suggested “any and all pressure” that the USA has including economic measures and trade measures. He claims that the USA has no “diplomatic leverage” over Russia and that they shouldn’t of restarted relations on fresh terms with Russia when Vladimir Putin came in.

To anyone who is interested i’d strongly encourage you to watch the interview. I’d be very interested to hear your thoughts and maybe even see a bit of a debate in the comments because watching this interview made my skin crawl with how hypocritical Michael McCaul’s stance was and how much his speech was laden with ideas of American Supremacy.

Image courtesy of United Liberty .Org

Latin American Nations Withdraw Ambassadors From Europe After Jet Incident

Russia Today reports that the backlash against Europe after the Bolivian Jet incident is now growing in Latin America. After having a serious emergency meeting already four countries have now decided to withdraw their ambassadors from European nations involved in the incident.

Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay will all withdraw their ambassadors from France, Spain, Portugal and Italy in retaliation against their decision to block airspace for Bolivian president Evo Morales and his state jet – pictured above.

Nicolas Maduro, president of Venezuela, stated that:

“We’ve taken a number of actions in order to compel public explanations and apologies from the European nations that assaulted our brother Evo Morales”

Both the UNASUR (Union of South American Nations) and trade-bloc Mercosur (Mercado Común del Sur) have condemned the actions of Europe as imperialist and neo-colonialist. This entire diplomatic spat has emerged from the belief that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was onboard the Bolivian State Jet. Since then the situation has escalated with the majority of Latin America condemning Western Europe and the USA, and many Latin American nations offering Edward Snowden asylum in protest.

Image courtesy of AFP Photo/Patrick Domingo

Russian Officials In Favour Of Snowden Asylum

Russian officials have been making statements in support of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and his asylum request in Russia. Russian Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko believes that his country should offer Edward Snowden asylum and in a statement recorded by Itar-Tass he said that:

“In connection with Mr. Snowden’s request for a political asylum in Russia I believe that we should leave emotions aside and act in compliance with international law and the internal legislation of the Russian Federation”

Furthermore Russian State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin expressed a similar opinion to Matviyenko stating that:

“Russia should grant political or temporary asylum to Snowden”

Of course we’ve already known that Russia was ready and willing to offer Edward Snowden asylum but they set conditions that he must not “continue to harm the USA” if he is to be granted asylum. Edward Snowden is now ready to accept that condition though it remains to be seen whether his main “leak assistant”, Glenn Greenwald of the Guardian, is willing to stop exposing new things otherwise he may risk jeopardising Snowden’s asylum bid in Russia.

Image courtesy of AFP Photo / Human Rights Watch

Edward Snowden Ready To Accept Russian Terms Of Asylum

Edward Snowden has recently been meeting with human rights activists in Russia to help determine his future. Human Rights Watch representative Tatyana Lokshina has stated that Edward Snowden is now ready to seek asylum in Russia because he cannot fly to Latin America. Russia’s President Vladimir Putin had previously said that Edward Snowden would be offered asylum if he stopped damaging the USA. Early reports suggested that Snowden was not ready to accept such a condition but now Snowden says “that his job is done”.

Snowden has also asked human rights activists to petition the US and European states to not interfere with his asylum process. Snowden said he is ready to ask Russia for political asylum and that he “does not intend to harm the US in the future,” according to the chairman of the Russian State Duma MP Vyacheslav Nikonov.

Snowden stated that:

“No actions I take or plan are meant to harm the US… I want the US to succeed”

Snowden did not rule out moving to a Latin American country but in the current climate he does not believe it is possible or sensible, particularly after the grounding of Evo Morales’ jet just over a week ago.

Image courtesy of AFP Photo / Str

Snowden Gets Issued A World Passport By World Services Authority

The World Services Authority (WSA) is a Washington-based branch of the world government of world citizens. Just yesterday it issued a “World Passport” to Edward Snowden giving him “world citizenship”. The announcement on Twitter by the WSA yesterday read:

“WSA issues World Passport to Edward Snowden Based upon article 13 (2) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights”

The WSA founder stated the Snowden situation was unprecedented and revealed the power of one individual against the state. Hhowever he claimed that Snowden being stuck at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo was a fiction of the nation-state border and not fair. Sadly though, only four nation states recognise the world passport and they are Togo, Tanzania, Mauritania and Ecuador. Interestingly enough Ecuador was previously on Snowden’s asylum list and with a world passport he could legally travel there. Once he arrives there he is unlikely to be extradited as Ecuador have already stated they will stand up against “Imperialist Powers”.

We eagerly await what Ecuador has to say about this potentially loophole and wonder what Snowden’s prospects are for Ecuador. That said he still has offers from Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia if he doesn’t feel like playing the lottery with Ecuador. That said the hardest part for Snowden is still going to be getting to Venezuela without being intercepted by the USA and its allies.

Image courtesy of abrighterfuture (MySpace) 

Venezuela Ratifies Asylum Decision For Snowden

Venezuela has already confirmed that it has received Edward Snowden’s asylum request and now it has reportedly ratified the asylum request.

El Nuevo Empresario reports that the Venezuelan foreign affairs minister announced the decision to grant Snowden asylum has been fully ratified by the Venezuelan government and relevant authorities in Venezuela. He also clarified that Snowden wrote in his asylum request that he believed he would be persecuted and politically imprisoned or killed if he ever returned to the USA, his homeland.

A TV station yesterday stated that Snowden had already chosen Venezuela as his asylum nation of choice but WikiLeaks denied that stating it was untrue and that Snowden still has other options on the table to contemplate.

Even if Snowden accepts requests in one of his three options so far (Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua) he still has to get safely to those nations without traversing airspace where a valid international U.S issued arrest warrant could force his flight to land, resulting in his arrest and then extradition to the USA.

Venezuela have stated they are still awaiting Edward Snowden’s final decision on whether he will accept the offer.

Image courtesy of Abc.net.au

NSA Spied On Countries In Latin America

The NSA has been spying on the whole world, that’s not news to anyone. However, on the back of the USA trying to exert pressure on Latin America to not accept Edward Snowden’s asylum these latest revelations could deal a fatal blow to the USA. O Globo reports that the USA has been spying extensively on Latin America. Countries like Brazil, Mexico, Venezuela, Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador (and probably the rest of Latin America) have all been regular spying targets of the NSA.

Apparently the NSA hasn’t limited its spying operations to just military affairs and has also been stealing trade secrets from the Latin American oil industry, notably Venezuela. Latin America was targeted by “PRISM” and “Boundless Informant”. PRISM enables access to emails, chat logs and voice calls through American-based internet companies and Boundless Informant is capable of cataloguing phone calls and internet access.

The USA reportedly used PRISM to collect data regarding oil and military purchases fropm Venezuela and energy and narcotics from Mexico. Other victims of “lower level” spying were Venezuela, Argentina, Ecuador, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Paraguay, Chile, Peru and El Salvador. No doubt this latest revelation will spur more Latin American countries into offering Edward Snowden asylum. Investigations are already taking in Brazil over the reported intelligence breaches.

Image courtesy of Gringos.com

 

Snowden Claims NSA and German Intelligence Are “In Bed Together”

The German intelligence service, BND, is apparently pretty cosy with the USA’s NSA if Edward Snowden is to be believed. Der Spiegel reports Edward Snowden as saying that the NSA and the BND are “in bed together”. He says ties between the BND and NSA are much tighter than either government will lead you to believe.

While public backlash in Germany has been strong, rhetoric from government has been too. Yet Edward Snowden claims it is absurd the German government would demand to know the truth when they already know exactly what’s been going on for years.

Furthermore, Snowden claims the NSA has a dedicated “Foreign Affairs Directorate” which works directly with the intelligence services of other nations like the BND. The NSA also provides the “analysis tools” for the BND to monitor their surveillance collections. Finally he states that all government decision makers are protected by these programs, and so it is not surprising they lie about them in public forums.

Image courtesy of BND

Venezuela Says Asylum Offer For Snowden Has Deadline

Edward Snowden recently received political asylum offers from Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia taking his total number of options to three, if you exclude the fact he rejected Russia’s asylum offer. Yet despite this Edward Snowden has to move fast because, according to NBC, Venezuela have given Edward Snowden until the end of today, Monday July 8th, to make up his mind.

“There has not been any type of communication. We are waiting until Monday to know whether he confirms his wish to take asylum in Venezuela,” said the Foreign Minister Elias Jaua on state television

Having been stuck at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport now since June 23rd Edward Snowden has been stuck in political-limbo after the U.S revoked his passport and Russia refused to let him enter the country unless he accepted their conditions for asylum, which he didn’t.

With the offer from Venezuela on the table Snowden would be foolish to say no. Even if he does accept getting to Venezuela could be the hard part as the USA has opted to dump arrest warrants on more or less every nation in the world in an effort to restrict airspace for Edward Snowden’s flight.

Image courtesy of Nicolas Maduro

Cuba Backs Latin American Asylum Offers

With Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia all offering the infamous NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden asylum, Cuba’s president Raul Castro has said that he supports the decisions of the Latin American government. Cuba also received an asylum request from Edward Snowden but Cuba have yet to speak about it at all.

“We support the sovereign right of Venezuela and all states in the region to grant asylum to those persecuted for their ideals or struggles for democratic rights,” Raul Castro said.

In any case the quickest route to South American countries from Russia’s Sheremetyevo airport is via Cuba. This is a pretty safe option since Cuba is highly unlikely to extradite Snowden to the USA, in fact he might not even need to travel any further after landing in Cuba because many are saying Cuba will almost-definitely grant Snowden asylum.

Most Western-European nations have already stated that if Snowden’s plane has to land to refuel on their territory then they will arrest him for a U.S extradition after receiving arrest warrants. What’s more we could European nations force the plane to land if it flies through their airspace. Edward Snowden certainly doesn’t have an easy route to safety , wherever that may be.

Image courtesy of Biography.com

Iceland Won’t Be Granting Snowden Citizenship Or Asylum

Iceland’s Parliament Building

Despite the best efforts of Iceland’s Official Pirate Party, the country will not be offering him citizenship. This is due to the fact that the Icelandic parliament refused to hear the proposal and will be taking a break from parliamentary sessions until September. Even when it gets back it is unlikely the current government would get involved. The idea from the previous proposal was that by granting Edward Snowden Icelandic citizenship he would be exempted from extradition and would get permanent asylum.

With this not materialising Edward Snowden can probably safely cross Iceland off his list of potential safe havens.

“It is with great grief I have to announce that Snowden will not be getting any form of shelter in Iceland because the current government doesnt [sic] even have enough spine for the parliament to discuss Snowden’s request,” Pirate Party MP Birgitta Jónsdóttir wrote.

Image courtesy of urbantoronto.ca (Photobucket)

Privacy Groups Demand NSA Surveillance Shut-Down

The American privacy watchdog group, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), has announced plans to file a petition to the USA’s Supreme Court to make the National Security Agency (NSA) stop gathering surveillance data on American citizens. EPIC announced their plans during a Restore the Fourth Rally urging the Supreme Courts to revoke authorisation of the spying programs run by the NSA.

“We believe the NSA’s collection of domestic communications contravenes the First and fourth Amendments of the United States Constitution, and violates several federal privacy laws, including the Privacy Act of 1974, and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 as amended,” the petition says.

The petition is a renewed response by EPIC after their earlier petition submitted on June 17th was ignored by the U.S government. With only 2000 signatures so far it is up to the American people to get behind the petition if they believe in the cause because the more people that do, the more the government is likely to listen.

Image courtesy of the People’s Cube

Bolivia Join Venezuela And Nicaragua In Offering Snowden Asylum

During a speech yesterday Evo Morales officially offered NSA whistleblower, Edward Snowden, political asylum in his country Bolivia. Quoted in El Comercio Morales said that

“As a protest, we just want to say to the Europeans and Americans that we will give asylum to this US citizen that is being persecuted by his compatriots. We are not afraid.”

He mentioned that if Edward Snowden made the official request they would grant him asylum. This suggests that Snowden is yet to formally request asylum from Bolivia. Interestingly Snowden has now applied for asylum in 27 countries according to WikiLeaks and these  have been met with mainly rejections but recently Edward Snowden was offered asylum by Venezuela and Nicaragua taking his total number of options now to three, all Latin American countries.

With the options coming in rather quickly now, with just 3 in 2 days, expect Snowden to get a few more offers as more countries follow in the footsteps of the Latin American nations.

Still the fact remains that even if Snowden takes asylum in Venezuela, Bolivia or Nicaragua he still has to get safe passage there without his flight being intercepted.

Image courtesy of CNN.com

Pirate Party Of Iceland Pushing For Citizenship For Edward Snowden

Iceland’s Pirate Party is now represented in parliament after election success earlier this year and they are doing their bit for Edward Snowden by requesting that he be granted citizenship in Iceland so he can be granted asylum. The draft law suggests Snowden should immediately be granted citizenship as a means of offering asylum and preventing legal extradition. Though in the preliminary round of voting only 6 out of 63 of parliament’s members voted in favour of the proposal.

We wanted to do this earlier but citizenship is an extremely delicate issue when it’s granted by parliament instead of granted through ordinary legal processes…he would undoubtedly be extradited from Iceland unless he were a citizen of Iceland.” stated Helgi Hrafn Gunnarsson, Pirate Party Iceland MP.

Despite this Iceland’s foreign ministry said Edward Snowden’s case would be treated just like any other. Birgitta Jonsdottir, an MP from the Pirate Party, believes that the Icelandic government could not extradite Edward Snowden because he faces a possible death sentence in the USA. It is illegal to extradite someone who may face a death sentence in Iceland. Many reputable political figures in Iceland have called for the country to provide him with asylum but even Pirate Party MP Jonsdottir stated that coming to Iceland is a bad move for Edward Snowden given Iceland’s poor track record of offering political asylum.

Image courtesy of Pirate Party Iceland

U.S Admits To Discussing Flight-Blocking With Countries Over Snowden

Yesterday there was an incident that saw Bolivian President Evo Morales forced to land in Austria after suspicions that Edward Snowden was onboard. His plane was refused entry into airspace of Portugal, Spain and France on the way back to La Paz and this has left a bitter taste in the mouth of Latin American countries who are now taking the matter to the UN with an official complaint. Since that incident the U.S state department has come out and admitted that it has been actively speaking with countries about denying airspace and land access to any transport carrying Edward Snowden.

Speaking with the Guardian a U.S spokesperson stated that:

“We have been in contact with a range of countries that had a chance of having Snowden land or travel through their country but I am not going to outline which countries or when the contact happened”

This comes after the U.S president said last week that he would not bother to interfere in Snowden’s flights. Now that the USA is worried about the fact Snowden might actually get away and get political asylum and has made a complete u-turn on its previous statements. While the U.S didn’t admit to being responsible for the incident with Bolivia’s Evo Morales, nearly everyone suspects they were the culprits. Also given these talks with other countries about airspace blockades took place in the last ten days, it is highly likely the USA was responsible.

Image courtesy of AFP Photo/Patrick Domingo

Snowden’s Asylum Options: 1 Withdrawn 10 Rejected 10 Pending

According to reports by RT.com Snowden’s options for political asylum are rapidly evaporating. The NSA whistleblower has withdrawn his application for Asylum to Russia after they told him he could only have asylum if he stopped “damaging” the USA, a condition he was not prepared to agree to. Furthermore Finland, Brazil, Poland, India and Germany all rejected his asylum claim outright stating they were not willing to accept him. Spain, Norway, Italy, Ecuador and Austria also rejected Snowden’s asylum request on the grounds that he had to be already inside the country for it to be processed. These rejections bring the total numbers of rejections to 10, and with the single withdrawal, 11 of Snowden’s options have already been vaporised.

So what options are left for the NSA whistleblower? Well he still has Bolivia, China, Cuba, France, Iceland, Ireland, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Switzerland and Venezuela left to reply. Of those ten remaining options China says it is not aware of the request and France has denied ever receiving such an Asylum request and since they also recently blocked a Bolivian Jet from flying through their airspace because of suspicions that Edward Snowden was onboard it could easily turn out that France will reject the request too.

As of writing the most likely nations to accept seem to be Venezuela and Bolivia after they both expressed anti-USA sentiments and stated their willingness to protect Snowden.

Image courtesy of the Guardian

Bolivian Jet Grounded Over Claims Snowden Is Onboard, UN Complaint Ensues

Bolivia’s president Evo Morales was flying back from Russia where he was attending an energy summit when his plane was forced to land in Austria. The reason? Italy, France, Spain and Portugal had all refused to allow his jet to pass through their airspace on the justification that they believed NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was onboard. After being forced to land in Vienna Austria the plane was searched by Austrian officials and it was revealed that Edward Snowden was not on the plane. Furthermore Evo Morales strongly refuted such claims stating that these were rumours made up by the U.S government. Additionally other Latin American leaders are furious over the whole situation stating Evo Morales was “kidnapped by imperalism”.

Bolivia’s UN Envoy is now stepping in to file complaints against the USA, Austria, Italy, France, Portugal and Spain describing the event as “An act of aggression and violation of international law” as the USA desperately tries to bring Edward Snowden into their custody. Bolivia’s UN Envoy member Sacha Llorrentty Soliz told press in New York that the decision to search the plane almost definitely originated in the USA. With Bolivia and Venezuela both pledging their support to Edward Snowden in recent times it is likely the U.S government will try and do anything against them to stop Edward Snowden reaching their territories.

Image courtesy of AFP Photo/Patrick Domingo

Snowden Releases List Of Countries Contacted For Political Asylum Requests

While it is now relatively common knowledge that the famous internet surveillance NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden is stuck in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport, it hasn’t been well documented where he was seeking political asylum up until now. We’ve known he has been in talks with Ecuador, but with that starting to unfold who else has he been trying to seek political asylum with? Well surprisingly his options aren’t as limited as you might think. According to an official statement made by the whistleblower organisation WikiLeaks Edward Snowden has applied for political asylum in the following nation-states:

  • Austria
  • Bolivia
  • Brazil
  • China
  • Cuba
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • India
  • Italy
  • Ireland
  • The Netherlands
  • Nicaragua
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Russia (where he is situated now)
  • Spain
  • Switzerland
  • Venezuela

Surprisingly, Ecuador is now off the list after President Correa seems to be bowing to American pressure. He has gone from pledging his support to Snowden at all costs to saying that he now offered Snowden help “by mistake”. It is also worth noting that Russia have also refused to offer Edward Snowden political asylum unless he stops releasing documents that are harming the USA.

Edward Snowden is currently seeking asylum on the grounds of persecution risk if he is forced to return back to the USA.

We will be sure to keep you updated with how this goes for Edward Snowden. He is easily becoming one of the most important figures of our generation.

Image courtesy of the Guardian