In a conference call with reporters Monday, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said, “I simply do not see the irony” – that countries whose human rights records are deeply questioned by international rights groups, as well as by the US, seem to be the ones most willing to aid Snowden in his flight from US justice.
China is accused of broadly limiting personal freedoms and targeting dissidents, Russia received an international black eye last year for the high-profile prosecution of members of the Pussy Riot feminist punk-rock group, and Ecuador is under fire from rights groups for a succession of laws limiting personal freedoms – including one this month that prohibits news organizations from publishing classified or confidential government documents.
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.”