In routine criminal cases, unlike this one, Hong Kong had shown a willingness in recent years to extradite people to face charges in the United States, he said.
In the video, Snowden said that “Hong Kong has a strong tradition of free speech.”
Hong Kong returned from British to Chinese rule in 1997, but still enjoys some autonomy in business and governmental functions.
However, under Hong Kong’s Fugitives Offenders Ordinance, Beijing can issue an “instruction” to the city’s leader to take or not take action on extraditions where the interests of China “in matters of defense or foreign affairs would be significantly affected.”
A real US spy, ex military, High school dropout, who later got his GED and IT training, managed to get Security related contractor jobs at the heart of the US surveillance program (with a salary of $200K a year).
But along the way, Snowden became disenfranchised. No single event cause it, he said. It’s just a whole bunch of things. Suddenly, or inevitably, the “steam valve” of Democracy stopped working. Or rather, Snowden came to realize that the “steam valve” of Democracy was just a fake one put on the wall just for “looks”, and it didn’t work.
Snowden copied documents from his work, then took time off from work by making up an excuse that he was going away on medical treatment, hopped on a flight to Hong Kong. The rest is recent history. He disclosed the secret documents to the media, and revealed his identity as the leaker.
Several questions/comments though:
(1) How did NSA miss this leak? Seriously, Snowden takes a vacation and flies to HK? How did this not set off security alarms all over the place?? (In contrast, Bo Jiang gets detained for SIM card?) Who runs the security in NSA?
(2) Why are Americans (Bradley Manning, Snowden, Ricin-letter sending ones, etc.) now taking such drastic and known illegal actions to buck the “democratic system”? In Snowden’s case, it’s definitely more than mere “disclosure” of information. Snowden wanted to make statements of sorts: (a) US/UK governments are doing wrong, (b) the People are fooled for a very long time.
(3) As we have noted before, these cases only continue to illustrate how wide of a gap of perception there exists between the Western public/media and the Western Governments’ reality.
(4) Why is Snowden taking refuge in HK, (which would put his fate inevitably under China’s sovereign control)? While he might right that China might resist US extraditions (just for PR values), Snowden also has very detailed knowledge about the IT systems of NSA, and doubtlessly Chinese Intelligence Service would be interested in obtaining such information from Snowden (who literally dropped into their laps).
Perhaps Snowden believes that if necessary, his knowledge of the IT systems of NSA would be a final bargaining chip in his own fate. In essence, he is warning US to not go after him too hard, or he may have no choice but to seek asylum and safety with China. So far, he is on the run. But that won’t necessarily deter China from try to get him.
(5) What are the likely scenarios? Undoubtedly, US and China (and probably many other nations, such as North Korea), are trying to locate Snowden, (and then have him bundled off to some secret interrogation facility). If he is caught by US, he will likely end up in some dark cell somewhere, and no one will ever hear from him again. Unlike Bradley Manning, Snowden would not be arrested on US soil, he would be renditioned (and Snowden has admitted that as a distinct possibility).
If he is caught by China, he will end up a bargaining chip. China may very likely use him to embarrass US in public. China may not want to keep Snowden around, such asylums are more trouble than they are worth. Instead, China may offer to return Snowden to US, by requiring US to promise that Snowden would be treated fairly and leniently in US (for Human Rights purposes, wink wink nudge nudge). Of course, US would make any promises to get Snowden returned, and would subsequently “reintepret” their own promise in 180 degrees, thus prompting China to accuse US of reneging promises and violating “human rights”.
If he is caught by other nations, he will again likely end up in some dark cell somewhere, and never acknowledged.
If he is really lucky and smart, Snowden may end up smuggling himself into some unknown mountain village, where no one knows he’s even there. (But that generally don’t last very long).
(6) Snowden’s movement only further demonstrate how easy it would be for spies to penetrate the porous borders of China, and how easy it would have been for spies to set up espionage shops in China. If Snowden intended to hack into computer networks, he could easily go into China, hack computers from within China, without being detected as to who he is.
This too should be a wakeup call to the Chinese government. That they do need to keep a tab on foreign visitors (for a variety of reasons).
* Relatedly, Snowden’s disclosure of the PRISM documents prompted vehement (and somewhat angry) DENIAL responses from the major tech companies involved.
Google’s CEO Larry Page and Chief Legal Officer David Drummond blogged, http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2013/06/what.html
The terse denial is just that, very terse simple denial, boiling down to “We didn’t do it, we never heard of it.”
Accusing others of spying is one thing, being accused of participating in spying, well, that’s hard to swallow.
But the last paragraph of the Google Denial is interesting:
Finally, this episode confirms what we have long believed—there needs to be a more transparent approach. Google has worked hard, within the confines of the current laws, to be open about the data requests we receive. We post this information on our Transparency Report whenever possible. We were the first company to do this. And, of course, we understand that the U.S. and other governments need to take action to protect their citizens’ safety—including sometimes by using surveillance. But the level of secrecy around the current legal procedures undermines the freedoms we all cherish.
So wait, So Google is admitting that there is some “level of secrecy around the current legal procedures”?? But what is that “level of secrecy”? Google doesn’t elaborate, because they can’t. YET, they still deny that they are giving SECRET access to the US government for surveillance??
Seems like a self-contradiction, and a weird denial with non-denial.
The 9 companies named in the PRISM program document all denied giving US/UK government “direct access” to user data.
Well, that rather depends on what they mean by “direct access”, which they again do not elaborate.
On that same note, the US government deny “targeting”, but rather they call it mere “collecting” data.
I’m sure guys like Snowden were not convinced by such Orwellian Newspeak. Indeed, Snowden probably got more upset by such weird denials. To him, “surveillance” is “surveillance”. Whether the Government is collecting surveillance on everyone or just “targeting” a few, doesn’t really make anyone feel better about it. Whether Google participated willingly or just went along with it, ALSO doesn’t make much difference to anyone. Google (Apple, etc.) are now just cogs in the surveillance machine, intentional or not, it’s just FACT, the brutal reality that Good People can be co-opted into all sorts of things.
A few years back, Google made a stink publicly (in the same blog forum) that it didn’t want to participate in Chinese government’s monitoring programs, and it withdrew from Chinese market.
I simply don’t see Google doing the same for the US market and UK market. Instead, Google merely denies that it’s doing anything wrong in US and UK (and it portrays itself as a victim of secrecy in a way).
Well, economic reality does co-opt principles, not surprisingly. And when one makes public announcements of “principles”, to cast stones at others, sooner or later, one might find oneself in the center of a public stoning.