As Secretary of State John Kerry quipped as he was questioned Monday about the countries on Snowden’s seeming itinerary, "I wonder if Snowden chose Russia or China for assistance because they are such bastions of Internet freedom.”
But those countries’ human rights records are “another matter,” according to Mr. Assange, the noted leaker of sensitive US diplomatic cables who has himself been living at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London for more than a year to avoid extradition to Sweden.
Assange did say that “no one is suggesting that Ecuador is engaging in the kinds of abuses the US” is committing on a large scale internationally – which he said range from the Obama administration’s program to “hack and spy on everyone across the entire world” to President Obama’s “assassination program in other countries.”
The US is “trying to bully Russia and other states” into turning over a legitimate asylum seeker, Assange said, adding, “No self-respecting country would submit to ... the bullying by the US in this matter.”
Assange said Snowden is en route to Ecuador, where he expects to apply for asylum, but he declined to offer any details of Snowden’s route, other than what was already known Monday morning – that Snowden on Sunday had flown from Hong Kong to Moscow, where he was said to have remained in the airport’s transit areas.
Snowden had been expected to take a Moscow-to-Havana flight Monday, but he was not on the plane when it departed, according to numerous reports.
Snowden is still expected to make his way from Moscow to Quito, Ecuador, via Cuba and Venezuela, according to other sources – two other countries with antagonistic relations with the US that in the past have jumped at the chance to make problems for Washington.