Ecuador is the same country which granted Assange political asylum during after he refused to face charges in Sweden for fear of extradition to the United States. Assange made his statement from the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he has lived for more than a year.
Beyond declaring Snowden's safety and intentions, Assange took the time on the nationwide conference call time to criticize the government efforts to prosecute whistleblowers.
“The Obama administration was not given a mandate by the people of the United States to attack and spy upon the entire world, to abridge the U.S. Constitution and the laws of other nations and America has no attempt to violate international asylum law by calling for the brandishing of Edward Snowden,” said Assange. “It further demonstrates the crackdown on the rule of law by the Obama administration, which has sadly become familiar.“
Assange criticized the president using the 1917 Espionage Act excessively. The eight times it has been used by the Obama administration is four more than the previous administrations combined. One the most widely covered was the case of Bradley Manning, who is currently undergoing trial for the 2010 leak of information that made Wikileaks a household name.
“In the Obama administration's attempt to crush these young whistleblowers with espionage charges, the U.S. government is taking on a generation, a young generation of people who find the mass violation of the rights of privacy in the American process unacceptable,” said Assange.” In taking on a generation, the Obama administration can really lose. Pursuing Edward Snowden and pursuing Bradley Manning is not the way to fix the weaknesses of law and process in the United States. The only way to fix these are to change the policies, to stop spying on the world, to eradicate secret laws, to fix indefinite detention without trial, to stop the Obama administration of such invasive programs, to stop invading countries and sending young Americans off to kill and be killed.”
Assange ended his statement with a request for citizens and press to lobby their governments in granting Snowden asylum.
“ The charging of Edward Snowden is not a matter of justice,” said Assange. “It is an attempt to intimidate any country that might be standing up for his rights to tell us all the truth. Such behavior must not be tolerated and will not be tolerated by any self-respecting nation.”
Assange was evasive when questioned about Snowden's current location or how he was able to travel from Hong Kong to Russia on Sunday.