Update – 3:20 am fdl time:
Pepe Escobar on RT TV this morning:
On Saturday, an arrogant White House, perturbed that Hong Kong seemed to be taking its time in responding to an extradition request for Edward Snowden, was quoted by CBS News:
If Hong Kong doesn’t act soon, it will complicate our bilateral relations and raise questions about Hong Kong’s commitment to the rule of law.
Before the government of Hong Kong had time to reply in writing to the American extradition request, the statement, believed to have been made by White House National Security Adviser Tom Donilon, was the butt of several tweets by national security writer and blogger Marcy Wheeler:
The Administration that won’t prosecute James Clapper for lying to Congress is lecturing Hong Kong about the rule of law.
The Admin that has not prosecuted a single major bankster is lecturing Hong Kong about the rule of law.
The Admin that didn’t prosecute any torturers is lecturing Hong Kong about rule of law.
The Admin that did not prosecute anyone for illegally wiretapping Americans is lecturing Hong Kong about rule of law.
The Hong Kong government refused to be intimidated (emphasis added):
HKSAR Government issues statement on Edward Snowden
The HKSAR Government today (June 23) issued the following statement on Mr Edward Snowden:
Mr Edward Snowden left Hong Kong today (June 23) on his own accord for a third country through a lawful and normal channel.
The US Government earlier on made a request to the HKSAR Government for the issue of a provisional warrant of arrest against Mr Snowden. Since the documents provided by the US Government did not fully comply with the legal requirements under Hong Kong law, the HKSAR Government has requested the US Government to provide additional information so that the Department of Justice could consider whether the US Government’s request can meet the relevant legal conditions. 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 HKSAR Government has already informed the US Government of Mr Snowden’s departure.
Meanwhile, the HKSAR Government has formally written to the US Government requesting clarification on earlier reports about the hacking of computer systems in Hong Kong by US government agencies. The HKSAR Government will continue to follow up on the matter so as to protect the legal rights of the people of Hong Kong.
Ends/Sunday, June 23, 2013
Issued at HKT 16:05
By refusing the demand from the Obama administration, Hong Kong gave Snowden a window to exit the appendage of the PRC. He’s headed to Moscow, but that may not be the end destination:
His departure was revealed on the website of the the Hong Kong newspaper the South China Morning Post, which said that Russia was not thought to be his intended final destination.
It is thought that the eventual destination could end up being Iceland or Ecuador.
He is understood to have left on the Russian airline Aeroflot flight SU213.
The paper said it left Hong Kong around 11am local time (4am UK time) and was due to arrive in Moscow around 5.15pm local time (1pm UK time). It is believed to be currently in the air.
That is fairly soon, from the time of my writing.
Meanwhile, the questions being raised globally about our own commitment to the rule of law are playing out in many arenas every day. My favorite one this past week was the speech given on the floor of the lower house of the Irish Parliament, the Dáil Éireann, by member Clare Daly, an unabashed Irish progressive. Ms Daly is objecting to the slavish, lavish coverage Irish and Northern Irish media and institutions gave to Obama (and the Obamas) during his attendance at the G8 Conference:
Whether it is the government of Hong Kong, a back-bencher in the Dáil Éireann, an Ecuadorean government resentful of past travesties we have inflicted upon their sovereignty, a Russian government upset about brazen American espionage, or an entire world community disturbed about implications of what Snowden and others have recently revealed about how fully we break treaties and conventions with them by the way we surveil and target their citizens, corporations, leaders and people, we may be about to witness a tsunami rise against our empire.