This article is full transcript of a historical Moscow Airport press conference Edward Snowden held in 12th July 2013.
You can also access some captured photos and audio files in the link below.
The press conference went on as follows. (You can read transcript of his statement in wikileaks web site, a full transcript of this conference including Q&A sessions may, though we cannot assure be exclusively here! )
Translator: Mr. Snowden will give a short statement,and then you may ask questions. If I ask when you ask your questions, you can tell us your name, and the organisation that you are coming from.
Mr. Snowden :First of all, thank you all for coming. Hello, my name is Edward Snowden. A little over one month ago, I had family, a home in paradise, and I lived in great comfort. I also had a capability, without any worry of war, to search for, seize, and read your communications. Anyone’s communications, at any time. That is the power to change people’s fates. It is also a serious violation of the law. The fourth and fifth amendments to the constitution of my country, the article 12 of universal declaration of human rights, and numerous statutes and treaties forbid such systems of massive pervasive surveillance.While the US Constitution marks these programs as illegal, my government argues that secret court… (inaudible, interrupted by airport announce )so,well… I heard this many times over the last number of weeks… my government argues that secret court rulings which the world is not permitted to see somehow legitimizes an illegal affair. These rulings corrupt the most basic notion of justice, that it must be seen to be done. The moral cannot be made moral through the use of secret law.
I believe in the principles accorded in Nuremberg in 1945, individuals have international duties, which transcend national obligation of obedience. Therefore, individual citizens have duties to violate domestic laws, to prevent crimes against peace and humanity from occurring. Accordingly, I did what I believe was right, and began the campaign to address what I witnessed. I did not seek to enrich myself. I did not seek to sell US secrets. I did not partner to with any foreign government to guarantee my safety. Instead, I took what I knew to the public. So what affects all of us could be discussed by all of us in the light of day. And I ask the world for justice. The moral decision to tell the public about spying that affects all of us has been costly. But it was the right thing to do and I have no regrets. Since that time, the government and intelligence services of the United States of America, have attempted to make an example of me. A warning to all others who might speak out as I have.
I have been made stateless, and hounded for my act of political expression. The United States government has poised me on no-fly lists. It demanded Hong Kong return me outside of the framework of its laws, in direct violation of the principle of non-refilement of the law on the nations. It has threatened with sanctions, countries who would stand up for my human rights and the UN asylum system. It has even taken the unprecedented step at ordering military allies to ground a Latin American president’s plane in search for a political refugee. These dangerous escalations represent the threat not just to the dignity of Latin America but to the basic rights showed by every person, every nation, to make free from prosecution and to seek and enjoy asylum. Yet even in the face of this historically disproportionate aggression, countries around the world have offered support and asylum. These nations, including Russia, Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua, and Ecuador, have my gratitude and respect for being first to stand against human rights violations carried out by the powerful, rather than the powerless. By refusing to compromise their principles in the face of intimidation, they have earned the respect of a world. It is my intention to travel to each of these countries to extend my personal thanks to their people and their leaders.
I announce today my formal acceptance of all offers of support or asylum I have been extended, and all others that may be offered in the future. With, for example, the grant of the asylum provided by Venezuela’s president Maduro, my asylee status is now formal and no state has a basis violate to limit or interfere with my right to enjoy that asylum. As we have seen, however, some governments in Western Europe and North America have demonstrated a willingness to act outside the law. And this behavior persists today. This unlawful threat makes it impossible for me to travel to Latin America, and enjoy the asylum granted there in accordance with our shared rights. This willingness by powerful states to act extralegally represents a threat to all of us and must not be allowed to succeed. Accordingly, I ask for your assistance in requesting guarantees of safe passage from the relevant nations in securing my travel to Latin America, as well as requesting an asylum in Russia until such time as the states accede to law and my legal travel is admitted. I’ll be submitting my request to Russia today, and hope it will be accepted favorably. If you have any questions, I will answer what I can. Thank you.