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Snowden: Brazil the next place of exile?

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Earlier today Edward Snowden published an open letter to Brazil and its people, reports the N.Y. Times this afternoon. In his open letter published in the Brazilian newspaper, Folha de São Paulo, in which he described the NSA’s activities as potentially the greatest human rights challenge of our time,’ he is requesting asylum in Brazil.

Snowden writes that, ‘I went in front of that camera with open eyes, knowing that the decision would cost me family and my home, and would risk my life. I was motivated by a belief that the citizens of the world deserve to understand the system in which they live.’

Due to a ruling in federal district court in Washington D.C. yesterday, Judge Leon ruled in his opinion that the NSA activities were against the fourth amendment in the case before him. Judge Leon immediately ‘stayed’ the ruling so the Department of Justice could review and appeal.

Snowden praised the ruling yesterday and used this time of opportunity to approach Brazil where the current President Dilma Rousseff, her inner circle of senior advisers and Petrobras, Brazil’s national oil company have been targeted by the NSA ‘s surveillance. Ms. Rousseff called off a state visit to Washington in October over the revelations of the NSA’s operations in Brazil.

Brazil has made inquiries into the United States spying through news reports and testimony by Glenn Greenwald, the American Journalist to whom Mr. Snowden leaked NSA documents.

Interestingly, David Miranda, the domestic partner of Mr. Greenwald, who lives in Rio de Janeiro, has been making inquiries for Mr. Snowden to obtain asylum in Brazil for Mr. Snowden before his one-year visa runs out in Russia.

Snowden writes in his open letter today that his greatest fear is that no one would hear him. The recent events of the court ruling and certain countries that have supported him in his actions have encouraged him.

Mr. Snowden emphasizes in his letter that, ‘American Senators tell us that Brazil should not worry, because this is not ‘surveillance,’ it's ‘data collection.’ They say it is done to keep you safe. They're wrong.’

Mr. Snowden insists in his letter that these programs are about gaining data in order to gain control and power.

He also expresses in his letter that ‘Brazil led the United Nations Human Rights Committee to recognize for the first time in history that privacy does not stop where the digital network starts, and that the mass surveillance of innocents is a violation of human rights.’

Mr. Greenwald said he supported such a move for Snowden to receive asylum in Brazil because of his ‘whistle-blowing.’ ‘Each of those countries’ governments has the legal and moral obligation to protect him from the persecution to which the U.S. government is now trying to subject him,’ according to Mr. Greenwald.

Mr. Snowden closed his emotional letter of vindication with a final dramatic call to action, ‘If Brazil hears only one thing from me, let it be this: when all of us band together against injustices and in defense of privacy and basic human rights, we can defend ourselves from even the most powerful systems.’

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