(Article changed on June 24, 2013 at 07:15)
By Dave Lindorff
Presidential vans ready to pick up Snowden at Moscow airport ( by ThisCantBeHappening!)
Now that Edward Snowden is safely away out of the clutches of the US police state, at least for now, let's take a moment to contemplate how this one brave man's principled confrontation with the Orwellian US government has damaged our national security state.
Firstly, there are the four computers loaded with National Security Agency secrets, which have already exposed the details of how our government is monitoring our entire national communications grid, prying into the details of the telephonic and internet activity of every American citizen. We've only begun to learn about the ugly totalitarian activities of our government, and now that Snowden is safe from arrest, we will no doubt learn much more.
Second, the US has been humiliated by both China and Russia, which have demonstrated dramatically that they cannot be intimidated by the world's dominant superpower, which stands revealed as less super and less powerful than it has been claiming. China, according to local experts on Hong Kong/China relations like Chinese University of Hong Kong professor Willie Lam, intervened in the legal process to tell Hong Kong authorities not to honor the US government's arrest warrant on espionage and theft of official secrets charges, and to allow him to leave the territory. Russia, meanwhile, whose President Vladimir Putin had already volunteered to grant Snowden amnesty, provided the world's most celebrated whistleblower a seat on an Aeroflot flight from Hong Kong to Moscow, where he just landed safely today.
The US was left to bluster impotently that Hong Kong's unwillingness to arrest and hold Snowden in response to the US indictment and extradition request was a sign that the Hong Kong Special Administration Region, which is supposed, under Chinese Law, to have autonomy from Beijing, and to be able to follow its own laws, including an extradition treaty with the US which was signed a year before the territory was handed over from British to Chinese control in 1996, was actually not so autonomous. As an unidentified "senior official" of the Obama administration was reported saying to the Washington Post, ""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."
That line must be evoking gales of laughter around the world, and could also be a laugh line for local comics here in the US, where the rule of law died years ago with the illegal invasion of Iraq, the illegal secret rendition, detainment and torture of hundreds of suspects in the Bush/Obama "War" on Terror, the continued operation of the internationally illegal Guantanamo Bay detention and torture center, the three-year detainment without trial and torture of Army whistleblower Bradley Manning, the extra-legal killing of Americans by drone-launched missile attacks, and the NSA spying on all Americans, begun as early as 2007...
For the rest of this article by DAVE LINDORFF in ThisCantBeHappening!, the new independent three-time Project Censored Award-winning online alternative newspaper, please go to: www.thiscantbehappening.net/