Edward Snowden Addresses US Campaigners

Photo Credit: Frank Polich / Reuters

Photo Credit: Frank Polich / Reuters

Edward Snowden and the reporter Glenn Greenwald, who brought to light the whistleblower’s leaks about mass US government surveillance last year, appeared together via video link from opposite ends of the earth on Saturday, for what was believed to be the first time since Snowden sought asylum in Russia.

In Germany, meanwhile, a leading ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel criticised the US for failing to provide sufficient assurances on its spying tactics and said bilateral talks were unlikely to make much progress before the German leader visits Washington next month.

The interior minister, Thomas de Maiziere, one of Merkel’s closest cabinet allies, told the German weekly magazine Der Spiegel: “US intelligence methods may be justified to a large extent by security needs, but the tactics are excessive and over-the-top.”

Last October, reports based on disclosures by Snowden said Washington had monitored Merkel’s mobile phone.

In Chicago, a sympathetic crowd of nearly 1,000 packed a downtown hotel ballroom at Amnesty International USA’s annual human rights meeting and gave Greenwald, who dialled in from Brazil, a raucous welcome before Snowden was patched in 15 minutes later – to a standing ovation.

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