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

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The next move in the chess game has been played...

This from the BBC (link here):

23 June 2013 Last updated at 05:53 ET

US intelligence fugitive Edward Snowden has flown out of Hong Kong, from where the US was seeking his extradition on charges of espionage.

He left voluntarily for a third country, a government statement said.

The South China Morning Post quoted "credible sources" as saying he was due to arrive in Moscow later on Sunday.

Snowden, an intelligence analyst, fled to Hong Kong in May after revealing details of extensive internet and phone surveillance by US intelligence.

"Mr Edward Snowden left Hong Kong today (June 23) on his own accord for a third country through a lawful and normal channel," the Hong Kong government said in a statement.

On Saturday, the White House contacted Hong Kong to try to arrange his extradition, but the territory's administration now says the documents submitted by Washington did not "fully comply with the legal requirements under Hong Kong law".

As a result, Hong Kong says it requested further information from the US government.

However, the statement goes on: "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."

The statement says Washington has been informed of Hong Kong's decision.
--- End quote ---

Vash khod, Washington...

This is playing out like a movie...  I'd be grabbing the popcorn if not for the fact that this hits so close to home  :-\

The next few moves in the game have now been played:

From ArsTechnica (full article here)

SpoilerAssange: Snowden is en route to Ecuador and “in a safe place” for now
On conference call, Assange also says Snowden's materials are secured. (MP3 available)

During a Monday morning conference call, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said that National Security Agency (NSA) leaker Edward Snowden’s digital trove of leaked documents and materials was “secured by the relevant journalistic organizations prior to travel.”

Assange's comments could suggest that The Guardian and the Washington Post—where Snowden previously leaked information—are now in possession of his entire cache. Ars asked The Guardian and the Post to confirm this but did not receive an immediate reply.

This morning's call was arranged shortly after it was revealed that Snowden was not on an Aeroflot flight from Moscow to Havana. Assange would not disclose Snowden’s location, so his whereabouts remain unknown. (Both White House and Ecuador representatives believe Snowden is currently in Russia.) Ars has made a complete recording of the call available as an MP3 or through a stream below.

“We are aware of where Mr. Snowden is,” he said. “He is in a safe place, and his spirits are high due to the bellicose threats coming from the US administration—we cannot go into details as this time.”
During the question-and-answer period, BBC reporter Paul Adams challenged Assange. Adams noted the “obvious irony" of trying to cooperate with the Chinese and Russian authorities: "Given their problematic relationship with the values of privacy and freedom of speech that you hold dear—and if Edwards Snowden ends up in Ecuador—doesn’t the same irony pertain? I wonder: are you simply involving those countries because they're happy to stick one in the eye of the United States rather than upholding those values that you represent?"

Assange replied to start a quick back-and-forth:

    “I simply do not see the irony. Mr. Snowden has revealed information about mass, unlawful spying which has affected every single one of us. The US administration has issued a series of bellicose, unilateral threats against him and against others who are attempting to support his rights. That is a very serious situation and any country that assists in upholding his rights must be applauded for doing so.”

              “Even when they don’t uphold those rights for their own citizens?” Adams asked.

    “That's another matter. In these cases, we do not criticize people for seeking refugee status in the United States despite its use of torture, drone strikes and executive kill lists and so on. No one is suggesting that countries like Ecuador are engaged in those types of abuse.”

--- End quote ---

From BBC (full article here)

SpoilerEdward Snowden: US warns Russia and China

US Secretary of State John Kerry has said it would be "disappointing" if Russia and China had helped US fugitive Edward Snowden evade US attempts to extradite him from Hong Kong.

Speaking during a visit to India, Mr Kerry said there would inevitably be "consequences" to such a move.

Mr Snowden flew from Hong Kong to Moscow on Sunday.

A seat was booked in his name on a flight to Cuba on Monday morning, but he is not thought to have boarded.

He has applied to Ecuador for political asylum, but the country's foreign minister has implied he is still in Russia.

And speaking at a news briefing later on Monday, White House spokesman Jay Carney said: "It is our understanding that he (Snowden) is still in Russia."

He added that senior US officials were briefing President Barack Obama regularly about all the developments.

Whatever the verdict on Edward Snowden's activities, his leaking of details of a vast US operation to access and monitor communications inevitably has serious diplomatic repercussions”
Speaking during a visit to Delhi in India, Mr Kerry told reporters it would "be obviously disappointing if he was wilfully allowed to board an airplane".

"As a result there would be without any question some effect and impact on the relationship and consequences."

Mr Snowden is believed to have spent the night in an airside hotel at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport. The US has revoked his passport and wants Russia to hand him over.

Mr Kerry urged Moscow to "live by the standards of the law because that's in the interests of everybody".

"In the last two years we have transferred seven prisoners to Russia that they wanted so I think reciprocity and the enforcement of the law is pretty important," he said.
--- End quote ---

And now this from Ars Technica (full article here)

SpoilerDid Snowden’s travel plans hit a snag? Leaker fails to catch flight to Havana
Snowden's US passport has been revoked.

by Cyrus Farivar - Jun 24, 2013 2:09 pm UTC

After spending the night in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport, NSA leaker Edward Snowden did not board the Aeroflot flight he had been expected to take to Havana. His plan was apparently to fly to the Cuban capital and then to go on to Ecuador (where he had requested asylum). Snowden's whereabouts remain unknown.

It may be that Snowden and his friends from WikiLeaks—who helped him secure a “special refugee travel document” last week from Ecuadorian authorities and assisted with his trip from Hong Kong to Moscow—have an alternate travel route in mind. There is also the possibility that he is being detained by Russian authorities.

The State Department had revoked Snowden’s American passport on Friday, which is normal for persons with “felony arrest warrants.”

“Such a revocation does not affect citizenship status,” Jen Psaki, a State Department spokesperson told Ars. “Persons wanted on felony charges, such as Mr. Snowden, should not be allowed to proceed in any further international travel other than is necessary to return him to the United States. Because of the Privacy Act, we cannot comment on Mr. Snowden's passport specifically."

The Washington Post pointed out that Aeroflot’s regularly scheduled flight would have taken the commercial jet over Norwegian, Canadian, and American airspace before landing in Havana: “But if the plane uses a different flight plan—north toward the Arctic and then south over the middle of the Atlantic Ocean—the Russian authorities will have directly participated in Snowden’s escape."

US Secretary of State John Kerry, speaking to reporters in India where he is on a state visit, said it would be “deeply troubling” if China or Russia had adequate notice of Snowden’s plans before his departure.

"I suppose there is no small irony here,” Kerry added. “I mean, I wonder if Mr. Snowden chose China and Russian assistance in his flight from justice because they're such powerful bastions of Internet freedom, and I wonder if while he was in either of those countries he raised the question of Internet freedom since that seems to be what he champions."

--- End quote ---

And so it goes...

Your move, Moscow.

Sometimes I'm glad that the powers that be are so willfully and utterly stupid and prideful.

There was an obvious out that they could have taken to both make themselves look better and move public opinion on the matter- and all it would cost them is a bit of face.

The documents are already leaked, right?  So catching Snowden is a matter of pride, and nothing else.

Offer him a pardon in exchange for his testifying on the Hill in committees designed to look into (and bury) the whole thing.  Make the right noises about being respectful of the 4th amendment, and things being more than they seemed and that the are concerned about privacy of the average American, and those that have contact with them.

It's quite unlikely that he would believe them.  Which would erode his position if he was unwilling to deal, since he said that was his primary goal.  If he did, he could be dealt with in court- not towards him, but towards the whole policy and the leaks, which is the larger issue.  Destroy him and his testimony from that front, and you have a win.

This way?  There's only a slim chance of winning this...

This is definitely humor.. not sure if this is silly humor, so I posted it here.

Epic Troll Status: Edward Snowden


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