“Today was a victory of sorts for Edward Snowden and his many supporters,” Assange said in the statement, which was posted on theWikiLeaks website on Saturday.
“As Snowden has stated, his biggest concern was if he blew the whistle and change did not occur. Well reforms are taking shape, and for that, the President and people of the United States and around the world owe Edward Snowden a debt of gratitude.”
Assange, who has been holed up at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London for more than a year, fearing extradition to the United States for publishing classified US documents, rejected Obama’s assertion that his reforms were planned before Snowden’s disclosures about US surveillance activities.
“The simple fact is that without Snowden’s disclosures, no one would know about the programmes and no reforms could take place,” he said.
Assange accused the US government of “stunning” hypocrisy in its treatment of Snowden while it gave asylum to thousands of dissidents, whistleblowers and political refugees from countries like Russia and Venezuela.
The Obama administration has vigorously pursued Snowden to bring him back to the United States to face espionage charges for leaking details of US surveillance programmes to the media. Snowden is now in Russia, where he has been granted asylum. — AFP
Powered by WPeMatico