Sunday, June 9, 2013

Edward Snowden's gutsy bets

Working with Glenn Greenwald and the Guardian the leaker has revealed himself, fully. Name, photographs, a lengthy interview and a video explaining his decisions. ...

But by revealing so much and then revealing himself, I do think he’s taken the story into a genuinely unprecedented place. He wasn’t caught, as Manning was. He’s freely revealed himself, albeit from foreign soil. And he’s made it possible for himself to speak directly to the American public before he gets taken into custody, if that happens. That puts a human dimension to this story that may lead in unexpected directions.


...let me say a bit more about Snowden’s decision to go to Hong Kong. ...

Even though I’m tentatively willing to accept Snowden’s claim that he is doing this only because he thinks it’s right, he still seems to be hoping to evade the criminal consequences by defecting to China, a key US rival and one that comes up rather short of being the kind of libertarian and transparent society Snowden apparently believes in.

Look, I get it. He doesn’t want to go to prison. I don’t blame him. He says in the article that his highest hope is get asylum in Iceland. I can pretty much guarantee you that that’s not going to happen. A small country that wants to be close friends of the United States is not going to do that. I could see arguments for Russia or Venezuela or perhaps Iran. But of all the places where you might have a shot at not getting extradited, China’s not a bad choice. Hong Kong might even give you the best of both worlds, hosted by repressive government which is a US rival and yet living in a city with Western standards of openness, wealth, etc. ...

I’ve seen people linking to the current US-Hong Kong extradition treaty. Call me naive but I think this is going to come down to how Beijing wants to play this. If they don’t want a fight over this, Snowden’s toast. If they like the optics of it, I don’t think it matters what that extradition treaty says. China’s a big enough player and the US has enough other fish to fry with the Chinese, that the US is not going to put the bilateral relationship on the line over this guy. And the Chinese might relish granting asylum to an American running from the claws of US ‘state repression’.
--Josh Marshall, TalkingPointsMemo, on the best refuge for a U.S. leaker