ATTENTION: You are viewing a page formatted for mobile devices; to view the full web page, click HERE.

Main Area and Open Discussion > Living Room

Knight to queen's bishop 3 - Snowden charged with espionage.

(1/139) > >>

So it begins. This from ArsTechnica (full article here):

On Friday, former NSA contractor Edward Snowden was formally charged by the United States government with espionage, theft, and conversion of government property in a sealed criminal complaint in the Eastern District Court of Virginia. According to the Washington Post citing anonymous sources, the United States has also asked Hong Kong to detain Snowden on a “provisional arrest warrant.”
Some Hong Kong legal watchers though, have wondered if Snowden’s fleeing to Hong Kong was a better choice than it might seem at first blush. Apparently, the High Court in the quasi-city-state has issued an order requiring the government to create a new procedure to consider asylum applications. Until such a procedure is achieved, asylum seekers can ostensibly stay indefinitely.

"If it comes to the point where the US does issue a warrant on Snowden, and then passes it over to the Hong Kong authorities, and he decides to fight it, at this point it would be a court case," Nicholas Bequelin of Human Rights Watch told GlobalPost earlier this month. "And it can be a long court case, going up to the court of final appeals."

Lawyers who spoke to the Post concurred. "Any court battle is likely to reach Hong Kong’s highest court and could last many months," noted the Post. Hong Kong also has a clause in its extradition treaty with the US which states that suspects can't be turned over for offenses with a "political character." Espionage has traditionally been treated as such an offense.

--- End quote ---

Be very interesting to see how this plays out since politics and economic considerations will no doubt play heavily into this case.

Snowden's ultimate disposition could very easily (and likely will) become a bargaining chip in a larger set of negotiations over state-sponsored cyberhacking "understandings" and economic treaties.

In some respects, Snowden was wise to opt for Hong Kong and not go to Iceland since it would be considerably easier (and of far less political consequence) for him to be forcibly "extracted" (i.e. kidnapped) from Reykjavík than it would Hong Kong or Bejing. Iceland has little the United States wants. And much of Northern Europe is already playing ball with Washington over going after file sharing sites, blocking Pirate Bay, and conducting aggressive police enforcement actions over IP claims.

In the end, I think it's going to come down to a question incentives and the appearance of independence.

Hong Kong will not want to appear to be dancing to Washington's tune. But there may be some carrots (trade treaties, lifting of certain import restrictions, more liberal labor offshoring or tech import rules, etc.) that could be dangled as an enticement for Hong Kong's courts to find an argument for why Snowden should be returned.

Who knows? Maybe China has a few spies of it's own in US custody they would like to get back. Prisoner exchanges are not unusual in that context.

Washington really can't lose at this point. Whatever damage Snowden may or may not have caused - it's done already. It works out for Washington either way. If the US gets him back, they'll try him. If they don't, he'll be made the next Edward Lee Howard and become the 'poster child' justification for even more intrusive laws to protect national security. Because if political asylum is ultimately granted, that will only serve as 'proof' in some quarters that Snowden was working as a spy for China all along.

Since there's little practical upside (other than showing China won't be bullied) for keeping Snowden, I'm fairly certain he will ultimately be handed back to the USA at some point to face charges. Whether he is officially handed over by Hong Kong as part of a court judgment or brokered deal - or he just blacks out one fine morning and wakes up in some secret detention center half a world away - makes little difference. In the long run, he's had it.

Because no major government can afford to tolerate somebody they want be allowed to remain at large if that person's location is known. It's simply too embarrassing.

Satire, but it's spot on.  :D

U.S. Seemingly Unaware of Irony in Accusing Snowden of Spying

The United States government charged former intelligence analyst Edward Snowden with spying on Friday, apparently unaware that in doing so it had created a situation dripping with irony.

At a press conference to discuss the accusations, an N.S.A. spokesman surprised observers by announcing the spying charges against Mr. Snowden with a totally straight face.

“These charges send a clear message,” the spokesman said. “In the United States, you can’t spy on people.”

Seemingly not kidding, the spokesman went on to discuss another charge against Mr. Snowden—the theft of government documents: “The American people have the right to assume that their private documents will remain private and won’t be collected by someone in the government for his own purposes.”

“Only by bringing Mr. Snowden to justice can we safeguard the most precious of American rights: privacy,” added the spokesman, apparently serious.
--- End quote ---

Stoic Joker:
Hong Kong will not want to appear to be dancing to Washington's tune. But there may be some carrots (trade treaties, lifting of certain import restrictions, more liberal labor offshoring or tech import rules, etc.) that could be dangled as an enticement for Hong Kong's courts to find an argument for why Snowden should be returned.-40hz (June 22, 2013, 10:10 AM)
--- End quote ---

Oh brilliant...once again the American people get to take it in the ass for "National Security" as more jobs get exported just to crucify one poor bastard that was only trying to help.

Edward Snowden is a true American patriot, and anyone to stupid to understand that should be deported (or shot).

It's absurd to proceed further and prosecute on any kind of illegal "hacking" charge. That is a govern'mental' wimp charge with the only intent being to distract from the real issue. Make these political weasels fess up to their own criminal actions.

edit- "illegal "hacking" charge"

Whatever form of getting the info should not be the central issue and lay the blame on anything to do with computers or other way of communicating. The media of the delivering or gathering of the info is not the issue.

Excellent post on the Volokh Conspiracy blog (it's not about what you think btw) about why Snowden did not commit treason despite some politicos and justice department apparatchiks saying he did.

Contrary to the claims of some politicians and others who should know better, Edward Snowden did not commit treason. Treason is a specific crime defined in the Constitution, and it is particularly difficult to prosecute. As Seth Lipsky wrote in the WSJ this week:

    Treason turns out to be unique in American law. It is the only crime that the Constitution forbids Congress from defining. It is the only crime to which a court may never accept a confession given to the police. It is the only crime for which restrictions are laid down on how much evidence juries must hear. The Constitution itself underscores that the Founders feared treason law. . . .
--- End quote ---

Read the rest here.


[0] Message Index

[#] Next page

Go to full version