WikiLeaks cancels Iceland jets for Snowden

REYKJAVIK, Iceland - An Icelandic businessman linked to the WikiLeaks website said Tuesday, June 25, 3 private jets chartered to bring US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden to Iceland from Hong Kong had been cancelled Tuesday morning.

"The three planes that were on standby in Hong Kong have been cancelled. There is nothing happening there. They were cancelled this morning," Olafur Sigurvinsson, former chief operating officer at WikiLeaks partner firm DataCell, told AFP.

Ex-NSA technician Snowden reportedly arrived at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport on Sunday, June 23 after being holed up in the southern Chinese city where he issued a series of leaks on massive surveillance programmes by the US government.

But the 30-year-old, who has applied for political asylum in Ecuador, was never seen disembarking the flight and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said he never crossed Russia's border.

"I suppose he is still in Russia," Sigurvinsson said, adding that he expected further news on the former contractor "today or tomorrow."

In an interview with British daily the Guardian on June 10, Snowden described Iceland as a country that shared his values.

But the Icelandic government has trodden carefully, merely saying that a person must be in the country to apply for asylum.

"Since he's not in the country it's not for me to comment on presently," said Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson on June 19.

Sigurvinsson said on Thursday, June 20, a private jet was ready to bring Snowden to Iceland from Hong Kong but that the organisers were "awaiting a response" from Reykjavik. - Rappler.com