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Edward Snowdon, China’s American dissident


Snowdon’s Hong Kong Judges

The real risk to our democracy is what this situation does to potential dissenters, whistle-blowers, investigative journalists, and anyone else who thinks that some aspect of government policy might be boneheaded, unethical, or maybe even illegal. If you are one of those people — even on just a single issue — and you decide to go public with your concerns, there’s a possibility that someone who doesn’t like what you are doing will decide to see what they can find out about you.(…) Unless you’ve lived an absolutely pristine online and cellular life, you might wake up to discover that some regrettable moment from your past is suddenly being plastered all over the blogosphere or discussed in the New York Times. Stephen Walt

The more we learn about PRISM, the more it seems like something dreamed up by Glenn Beck mainlining speedballs after dropping acid. And I’m sure that what we know now is only the proverbial tip of the iceberg, or the proverbial drop in the proverbial bucket or the other shoe waiting to be proverbially dropped. And for me what is coming down the proverbial pipe explains what for many is a mystery: why Snowdon has gone to ground in Hong Kong.

It appears that Hong Kong’s English-legacy legal system is very robust, with a lot of guarantees that Snowdon will get a full hearing of his case. If he wants all the information he has in his possession heard in an open court filled with journalists and all in the English language, he has gone to the right place. This and not escaping from American justice seems to be his apparent goal.

It may be a very shrewd strategy… The more we know about the nuts and bolts of “Big Brother” the more sympathy and gratitude Snowdon may garner. President Obama will be wondering, “world hero… profitable to martyr?”

Many commentators are saying that the Chinese will surely want to hand him over quietly to the USA to avoid “souring” relations…Why should they do that?  Think about it… How would the US treat a famous Chinese “dissident” that appeared on its shores, if China demanded his extradition? Think about how much space the American media devote to any Chinese protest or dissident.

I imagine that the Chinese must be pissing themselves with laughter! Rubbing their hands together with glee. Especially when the US has recently been accusing them of all sorts of cyber crimes.  I’m sure that having the Americans hoist by their own petard having their dirtiest laundry washed in English in China will prove irresistible to the Chinese. What will the Chinese man in the street think of it all? This is not for internal Chinese consumption, but rather to erode America’s “moral” authority world wide, another reason for it to play out in Hong Kong.

So I think the Chinese are going to allow Snowdon to drag the US over the coals in Hong Kong courts and expose what for the Chinese must be America’s endless hypocrisy. Also the US might do a deal… drop all charges against Snowdon in exchange for him not revealing all he knows in an open court. However I think Snowdon wants to reveal all and have the transcripts of his hearing available for the whole world to read public and online. That is why he got into this mess in the first place.

Being a hero is his best life-insurance policy, but just in case, I also imagine Snowdon has placed a copy of his information somewhere safe where it will all come out if something “nasty” happens to him.

Interesting character Edward Snowdon, I’d like to learn more about him.

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David Seaton

David Seaton