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Posts Tagged ‘snowden’

Partner of Snowden journalist was detained for 9 hours & had his property seized for no reason

August 20th, 2013 4 comments

I think Citizens of the UK should start familiarizing themselves with the phrase “being invited for tea”  (请喝茶). Democracy at work, folks. Oh by the way, for those extolling the righteousness of “rule of law”, this is all legal under current British law.

EDIT: One more note, at least Chinese security doesn’t rob you of your video games when they invite you for tea.

Read more…

Categories: News, politics Tags: ,

Other Snowden Relevations

August 1st, 2013 9 comments

I wish to make a few observations about Edward Snowden from a slightly different angle.

Initially, there were legitimate queries concerning the apparent ease with which he copied highly confidential information, his background, and the escape. They seemed sensible questions, without the fingerprints of Disinformation Agents. But by now, it must be quite clear that Snowden is genuine. 

Most of the operational puzzles can be answered if we let go of one assumption: That the US secret machinery, powerful as it is, must be competent like what we see in movies. People who have worked for major multinationals might agree that the functioning of huge organisations is appallingly less coherent and rational than what outsiders might perceive. A simple example: The computer servers of most companies, big or small, are maintained by an outside contractor or a relatively junior staff member. No highly paid senior person is willing — or capable of — maintaining the system. Now, unless top executives exchange confidential correspondence by hand-written notes, relatively junior technicians could access them if they want to, including an audit trail of the Chairman’s internet activities during office hours. Read more…

Categories: Analysis, News, Opinion Tags: ,

Should China Consider Giving Snowden Asylum?

July 9th, 2013 7 comments

As Snowden considers asylum offers from Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Bolivia, and perhaps mulls a second application to Russia (Putin had earlier said if Snowden wanted to apply asylum there, he’d have to stop releasing NSA leaks), should China Consider Giving Snowden Asylum?

By the answers, I am hoping to gauge people’s attitude toward Snowden.  For me, I am neutral.  I personally have nothing against government “snooping.”  I have nothing to hide in general.  As long as they don’t pick on me for little trivial things (I trust governments generally enough that they wouldn’t), I have nothing against government tapping, government cameras, government sucking of emails, etc.  So what Snowden has revealed does not hit me in the stomach on that level.

However, I believe what Snowden has revealed is important in a geopolitical context.  Previously, we thought of the Internet as “free” – run by innovative Stalwart companies devoted to freedom, free from government interference.  Now we know the vastness of what we consider to be “free internet” is merely a very nationalized network space that is compatible with one specific set of values and that is at the core of 21st century geopolitical competition.

That’s an important insight for humanity to know.

So – should China…?

As Snowden weighs his not very stellar asylum choices, should China give asylum if given a chance?

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[Editor’s Note: clarification added 2013-07-09]: From the above write-up about “geopolitical context,” one might misunderstand me as saying that what Snowden has to say has no relevance to Americans and relevance only to the rest of the world.  That’s not what I meant.  To the extent Americans are world citizens, they should care.  They should understand so they understand why the information they get online in the so-called free internet (and also why the information they get in the so-called free media, why their very perspective about the world, about history) may be so biased and American (or Western)-centric.  And then perhaps they may understand why so many things they had taken to be Universal may just be American (or Western)-centric.  What Snowden revealed, and he may not even understand it, is to change the paradigm by which we view the world by revealing a blindspot we had universally taken for granted.  Others have noted the dangers of relying on “google” for all information on the net – because that essentially allows one entity – which is not beholden to the “people” per se – to define our knowledge, our worldview, our identity…  It is equally dangerous to rely on the falsehood of a universal, free internet for our information because there is no such thing as a universal internet.  Language and cultural barriers would have fragmented it fr0m the start – though now we see politics from the U.S. already set it up to fragment from the very beginning, too.

Everyone in Hong Kong is Celebrating the Triumph of Rule of Law In the Snowden Case – But Is This Really a Celebration of Law, or Politics under the Cult of Rule of Law?

July 1st, 2013 4 comments

extradition cartoonFor the last week or so, Hong Kong has been (very publicly) celebrating the “rule of law” that it claims it has exhibited in letting Snowden leave the country despite strong U.S. pressure to arrest and extradite him.  The Hong Kong government made this official statement after Snowden left Hong Kong.

The US Government earlier on made a request to the HKSAR Government for the issue of a provisional warrant of arrest against Mr Snowden. Since the documents provided by the US Government did not fully comply with the legal requirements under Hong Kong law, the HKSAR Government has requested the US Government to provide additional information so that the Department of Justice could consider whether the US Government’s request can meet the relevant legal conditions. As the HKSAR Government has yet to have sufficient information to process the request for provisional warrant of arrest, there is no legal basis to restrict Mr Snowden from leaving Hong Kong.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying later cited the government’s action as “a good example to illustrate the rule of law and the procedural justice that we uphold.”  The people of Hong Kong for the most part do back Leung’s sentiments.  Even those who suspects illicit political motives seem to concede that Hong Kong did right following its laws, protocols and procedures.

While I am proud of Hong Kong in standing up to U.S. in the Snowden affairs, I urge caution that this is a triumph for rule of law. Rule of law connotates an absence of arbitrariness, an objectivity that is devoid of human whim and of politics.  But if the public thinks the Snowden case resulted from an objective, fair and impartial application of rules, I urge them to think twice. Read more…