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Avaaz and the Brazilian David Miranda Start Campaign for Snowden's Asylum

12/18/2013 - 08h39

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FROM SÃO PAULO

The Brazilian David Miranda, boyfriend of American journalist Glenn Greenwald, and the non-profit organization Avaaz, specialized in online petitions, initiated a campaign for Edward Snowden's asylum in Brazil.

Espionage Whistleblower Edward Snowden to Seek Asylum in Brazil

He is a former NSA agent (National Security Agency) that revealed to the world the extent of U.S. spy program.

The petition to bring Snowden to the country gathered more than 8500 signatures early on Tuesday (17) evening - the petition, opened on November 21, had only 2600 names this morning.

The boost was given after Folha published, on Tuesday edition, an open letter from Snowden "to the People of Brazil."

In the document, he says he wants to collaborate with Brazilian authorities in investigations on the role of NSA in the country, but he says the U.S. government will continue interfering with his ability to speak" until a permanent country grants him political asylum."

The news report was able to find out Snowden is seeking asylum in the country in exchange for his knowledge on the American monitoring.

On his Facebook page, Miranda shared the link with the letter from Folha, asking his friends to sign the petition too.

Earlier, he had also published the full letter from Snowden, in English.

Miranda and Avaaz director, Michael Freitas Mohallem, said in an interview that Brazil is the best country to shelter the American, who currently lives in Russia, a country that granted him on August 1, 2013 temporary asylum for one year.

In a message posted on the Avaaz website, Miranda says Brazil is the "most appropriate country to house someone denouncing irregularities" and points out that President Dilma Rousseff "made an impassioned speech at the UN denouncing the spy."

He also says, "Edward is running out of time" and that, given the conditions for his stay in Russia, "he can't talk to the press or help journalists and activists to better understand how the American global spy machine works.

If Snowden were in Brazil, it is possible that he could do more to help the world understand how the NSA and allies are invading the privacy of people around the world and how we can protect ourselves."

Miranda even said to the newspaper "O Estado de S. Paulo" that "if you want," Brazil "can send a plane to do it [to give asylum to Snowden]."

CRITICISM

Glenn Greenwald criticized the article and international media coverage on Snowden's letter, through its Twitter account.

He asked his more than 309,000 followers not to trust "what the media outlets say" and that, instead, they should read the full letter.

In an e-mail to the site "BuzzFeed", Greenwald said Snowden "had already applied for asylum in Brazil and several other governments months ago and this issue is still pending."

According to what the Folha's article already said, last July, when Snowden was still prevented from leaving Moscow airport international area, he sent requests for asylum to dozens of countries, including Brazil, that responded saying it would not consider the merits of the message since it had not been forwarded appropriately.

"Brazil will not respond to a letter with a request for asylum. The petition around was as a generic letter. Granting asylum is not done automatically. The citizen in question [Snowden] is not even at a Brazilian embassy," Foreign Ministry spokesman, Tovar Nunes, said on that occasion.

According to Greenwald, Snowden did not offer to give information on the spy scheme made by U.S. in return for the asylum.

According to him, Snowden wanted to explain why he had failed to comply with requests for assistance made ​​by Brazilian senators and other officials.

The text written by Snowden is part of the strategy to grant him asylum in the country. Another step of the strategy is Avaaz online campaign.

Translated by SIMONE PALMA

Read the article in the original language

Ueslei Marcelino/Reuters
David Miranda (L), partner of Glenn Greenwald, the American journalist who first published the documents leaked by Snowden
David Miranda (L), partner of Glenn Greenwald, the American journalist who first published the documents leaked by Snowden

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