Venezuela’s prisons minister has called on Venezuelans to cancel their accounts on the social networking website Facebook in a move to refrain from being targeted by US spying. Maria Iris Varela said in a message posted on Twitter, “Fellow Venezuelans: cancel your Facebook accounts, since you unwittingly have worked as CIA informants! Look at the Snowden case!” referring to US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden.
Varela added that the victims of US “espionage” should file lawsuits in order to demand “fair compensation” from Washington and bankrupt the US government.Snowden, a former CIA employee, has leaked two top secret US government spying programs under which the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are eavesdropping on millions of American and European phone records and the Internet data from major Internet companies such as Facebook, Yahoo, Google, Apple, and Microsoft. On June 9, he admitted his role in the leaks in a 12-minute video recorded interview published by British daily the Guardian. In the interview, Snowden denounced what he described as systematic surveillance of innocent US citizens, saying his “sole motive is to inform the public as to that which is done in their name and that which is done against them.” He has sought political asylum in 27 countries, including several in Latin America. On July 8, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said his government has received an asylum application from the NSA leaker. “He (Snowden) will have to decide when he flies, if he finally wants to fly here,” Maduro noted, adding, “We told this young man, ‘you are being persecuted by the empire, come here,’” referring to the United States. Snowden has been holed up at Russia’s Sheremetyevo Airport since June 23, when he travelled from Hong Kong to avoid US extradition. MR/HSN