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Edward Snowden
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Hong Kong lawmakers blast US request for Snowden arrest as 'sloppy'

Lawmakers reject Washington’s criticism of Hong Kong’s handling of case, while Obama dismisses whistle-blower as a ‘hacker’

PUBLISHED : Friday, 28 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 29 June, 2013, 8:09am
 

Hong Kong lawmakers yesterday lambasted the American government's "loose practice of the rule of law", even as a top US diplomat warned of difficulties ahead in mending relations between the city and Washington.

Amid the war of words, US President Barack Obama sought to downplay the international chase for whistle-blower Edward Snowden, dismissing Snowden as "a 29-year-old hacker".

Snowden, who is now 30, is wanted on espionage charges for leaking details of secret US government surveillance.

How could the US government issue documents each bearing three different names for Snowden? This shows their practice is sloppy.
Lawmaker, barrister Ronny Tong Ka-wah SC

The US government had accused Hong Kong officials of feigning confusion over Snowden's name as a pretext for not detaining him before he fled to Russia. A US Department of Justice spokeswoman said the city's request for clarification and additional information was not genuine as images of the former US intelligence contractor were widely available through news outlets.

"Hong Kong cannot simply rely on Snowden's picture to confirm his identity. It would be a serious mistake if the Hong Kong government arrested the wrong person," said pan-democratic lawmaker and barrister Ronny Tong Ka-wah SC.

The US government could not expect Hong Kong officials to make an arrest based on media photos of Snowden, he said, criticising the US Department of Justice for "not understanding and respecting Hong Kong's legal system and the spirit of rule of law".

"It is ridiculous for the US - which always brags about their respect for human rights - to be so loose in handling the request for Snowden's arrest. How could the US government issue documents each bearing three different names for Snowden? This shows their practice is sloppy."

US consul-general Stephen Young said that he had spent three years in Hong Kong working for a good relationship between the city and the US, which had now suffered "a loss of trust".

Rebuilding that trust, Young said, "is not going to be easy," adding that, "where we have a whole series of agreements, and protocols and practices - our confidence has been shaken."

Lawmaker Ip Kwok-him, of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, said the US government was "shameless" for heaping accusations against Hong Kong to dodge questions about cybersnooping in the city and on the mainland. "The US government is talking nonsense," he said.

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying rejected the accusation that Hong Kong had a pretext for delaying the request for Snowden's arrest. The city's officials were following the principle of procedural justice when it asked the US government to provide information on Snowden, he said.

At a news conference in Dakar, Senegal, Obama made light of the matter, saying the US would not be scrambling jets or engaging in diplomatic bartering to get Snowden extradited. He said the damage to national security had already been done and his focus now was making sure it could not happen again.

"I'm not going to have one case with a suspect who we're trying to extradite suddenly be elevated to the point where I've got to start doing wheeling and dealing and trading on a whole host of other issues, simply to get a guy extradited," Obama said.

Obama said he hadn't called President Xi Jinping or Russian President Vladimir Putin to request their co-operation, saying: "I shouldn't have to."

Obama said such matters are routinely dealt with at a law-enforcement level, calling Snowden's extradition "not exceptional from a legal perspective."

 

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This article is now closed to comments

whymak
Reader Sticks Evans:
For your information, US intentional homicides are 50 times that of Hong Kong. Considering that less than 10% of US population are living in inner cities, violence of Americans is breathtaking by civilized world standards.
Texas alone has fried 500 prisoners since 1982 with quite a few of the executions occurring under the governorship of King George the Moron.
Of course, America is a great nation. It's provincial people like you who refuse to own up to US war and related state crimes against the world that belittles this great republic.
hard times !
after the Snowden's revelations of the NSA's top secrets and hiding in the airport of Moscow.Now it is knownt that the retired former 4-star general, a close aide of Obama named James ......had revealed military secret to New York Times that in 2001 US and Israel together hacked into Iran's equpipment to obstruct its progress in producing concentrated uranium.The program was named 'Olympic Games'.It started at the latter period of President Bush but afte Obama took office,he ordered to have the progess take a faster pace---------more and more evidence show that the boss of the state-class hackers of US government against other nations in the past five years was nobody but Obama who had a photo with his mum in Indonesia,dressed like a pirate----his childhood dream has finally come true !
hard times !
now Snowden's father must be under great pressure to summon his dear son home while claiming his son might be betraying the US government but never the American people who should be grateful to his disclosures of the large-scale surveillance of their government upon them on their internet and smart phones---seriously violating their privacy on the pretext of anti-terrorism or so-called national security.I remember this whistle-blower had once said in Hong Kong that he believed he wouldn't receive a fair trial----since he has been accused of treason and a traitor as well.The total jail terms of his three charges amount to 30 years in total----a lifelong imprisonment is awaiting him or even execution maybe.
hard times !
it is no wonder that the US army is not allowed the access to The Guardian website which was one of the first media to report the revelations of Snowden---a 29-year-old (actually he is 30 now) hacker as described by the boss of the largest hacker in the world ,the NSA of America. From this fact, all the netizens in the world can be sure that what Snowden revealed was truth and nothing but the truth.It also explains why the Obama adminstration has never denied what Snowden revealed openly to the world up till now !
Sticks Evans
bluechinagroup:
I use my face because I am not hiding jerk off or coward? Hong Kong is as lawless as anywhere else. The law is for the rich here don't fool yourself.

You and many others here are trashing events all the time. Bottom feeders. Yeah we are all hacked daily by all security services including from up north. Yeah america is a mess so what.
Do you have anything positive to say about anyone else but your own little world?
Doubt it.
norodnik
Close the barn doors! All the horses have run out....story from dubdubdub rt.com
US Army restricts access to Guardian website over secrets in NSA leak stories
The US Army confirmed on Thursday that access to The Guardian newspaper’s website has been filtered and restricted for its personnel. The policy is due to classified documents described in detail in the stories.
Gordon Van Vleet, spokesman for the Army Network Enterprise Technology Command, or NETCOM, said in an email to the Monterey Herald that the Army is filtering "some access to press coverage and online content about the NSA leaks."
The spokesman said the procedure was routine part of "network hygiene" measures to prevent unauthorized disclosures of sensitive information.
hard times !
dealt with at a law-enforcement level ? yet we all know that in a law-abiding society which observes a geniune,'rule of law', there won't be any accusations against a suspect who hasn't been properly /fairly tried by the court. Of course, Snowden's extradition is exceptional from a legal perspective here in Hong Kong-----never a formal request of his so-called extradition (except a phone call from the Department of Justice of US to our Secretary for Justice,Mr.Yuen,an experienced barrister.) nor proper and sufficient documents concerning his extradiction sent here (up till now no clarification has been received by our Department of Justice) The notification to our Immigration Dept.that Snowden's passport was revoked was received yesterday ( a few days after Snowden left here in a legal way with his American passport !)
norodnik
On a similar note in today's Guardian story on Eichmann - 'in 2006, the CIA released documents showing that it wrote to its West German counterpart in 1958, saying it had information that Eichmann "is reported to have lived in Argentina under the alias 'Clemens' since 1952". Eichmann's alias was Ricardo Klement.'
If you don't get the name right....things just don't happen...
newgalileo
Well done HK! Well, if you apply for a U.S. visa and anything in the forms is missing / unclear / etc. will the consular section close its eyes and give you a visa? Joking, right?
deendayal.lulla
The US has always acted as a big bully. Now,everything is out in the open. But the US is shameless. it is basking in the glory of its technology prowees. But the brains are Indians. The Prism software has been developed by an Indian. Even the software for digging the surface of Mars was developed by an Indian scientist working for NASA.

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