Snowden episode undermines Assange's Ecuadorian honeymoon

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New Delhi, June 29: Did Wikileaks Julian Assange's overbearing attitude undid the plan to flyout US surveillance whistleblower Edward Snowden from Russia? And is the honeymoon between Assange and Ecuador over?

Assange had arranged the travel document for Snowden after prevailing over Ecuadorian Consul in London but the country's President Rafael Correa revoked it when he came to know of Assange's role.

There appears to be tension between Ecuador's government and Assange. Irritated with Assange, Correa declared invalid a temporary travel document which could have helped Snowden leave Moscow (his passport has been revoked by US).

Meanwhile, Assange has sent letters to Ecuador's foreign minister, Ricardo Patiño, and other top officials and apologised "if we have unwittingly [caused] Ecuador discomfort in the Snowden matter." The note said "there is a fog of war due to the rapid nature of events. If similar events arise you can be assured that they do not originate in any lack of respect or concern for Ecuador or its government."

Son will return, says Snowden's father

As these travel efforts came to a naught, Snowden's father, Lonnie Snowden said yesterday that his son could return to the US and that he was worried about the involvement of WikiLeaks.

"I don't want to put him in peril, but I am concerned about those who surround him. I think WikiLeaks, if you've looked at past history ... their focus isn't necessarily the constitution of the United States. It's simply to release as much information as possible," the father told a television show in US.

Lonnie Snowden, who has not spoken to his son since April, said he did not believe his son had betrayed his country. "I don't feel that he's committed treason. He has broken US law, in a sense that he has released classified information. In fact he has betrayed his government. But I don't believe that he's betrayed the people of the United States."

Snowden said he had written to US Attorney General Eric Holder (highest law officer in US) that his son might return home if he is not detained before trial, could choose the location for his trial and would not be subjected to a gag order.

However, it is unlikely that the US government will meet the demands, as they have already filed a number of charges against Edward including harsh the Espionage Act.

President Barack Obama, meanwhile, has said that he won't engage in any 'wheeling, dealing and trading' to get Edward extradited from Russia to the United States.

'I'm not going to be scrambling jets to get to a 29-year-old hacker,' the president said of the whistleblower at a press conference in Senegal.

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