Julian Assange isn’t about to let the Edward Snowden Bandwagon pass him by. The Wikileaks founder — who had nothing at all to do with Snowden’s NSA and British Intelligence leaks — has tasked Icelandic businessman and Wikileaks money man Olafur Vignir Sigurvinsson to charter a private jet to fly the embattled Snowden from Hong Kong to Iceland, where Snowden has hinted he’d like to seek permanent asylum. Assange claims that Wikileaks may be able to secure Snowden Icelandic citizenship:
“We are in touch with Mr. Snowden’s legal team and are in the process of brokering his asylum in Iceland,” Mr. Assange said in a conference call with reporters. He said both the legal and practical obstacles were under review by Mr. Snowden’s lawyers and supporters.
A spokeswoman for Iceland’s embassy in Washington confirmed that the government had been approached by advocates for Mr. Snowden but would not comment further.
Far be it for me to be totally cynical of Assange’s motivations here, but it’s pretty well known that Wikileaks’ submission system has been seriously crippled since Bradley Manning released thousands of government documents, meaning that the only real recourse the organization has to remain relevant is if it endorses and — for lack of a better word — hijacks the works of other, separate leakers. There are some recent examples of Assange and Wikileaks attempting to remain relevant; for instance, this conspiracy-theory tweet was released hours after the death of lauded investigative journalist Michael Hastings claiming that he contacted Wikileaks’ lawyer to tell her he was under FBI investigation. (Later debuked.)
Still, it’ll be interesting to see if Assange is able to procure Snowden Icelandic citizenship and refuge.
(Photo by flickr Espen Moe)