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[liberationtech] NSA whistleblower revealed

Tom Ritter tom at
Mon Jun 10 13:40:46 PDT 2013

On 9 June 2013 17:43, Matt Johnson <railmeat at> wrote:
> I have to say going to Hong Kong for free speech and safety seems like
> a very odd choice to me. What was he thinking?

I actually think Hong Kong seems pretty smart. Parroting the news
organizations, Hong Kong has some extradition protection against
political crimes.  Likewise, Hong Kong is pretty free, it's not
mainland China.  It has a high quality of living, tolerates a lot of
political dissent, and it'd be pretty easy to stay lost there (well,
if you hadn't told people where you were going anyway.)

Plus, the fact that it's China.  HK is a Special Administrative
Region, but Capital-C China would not take kindly to any mucking about
there.  It seems like it would cause a pretty big incident if the US
snatched him from there or tried to inappropriately exert pressure.
China is on the UN Security Council and is not likely to play nice if
the US affronted it's sovereignty. And they have a lot of ways they
can hit the US back too: UNSC, trade sanctions, debt or currency
manipulation, the North Korean situation, not to mention (more) cyber
espionage on the government or corporations. (I refuse to say
cyberwar, it's espionage.)  Compare than to Iceland: if the US pisses
off Iceland, what's Iceland going to do about it?

The major disadvantages I see are that 1) it makes him look a little
bit more like a Chinese actor/spy/etc.  And 2) There is probably a
decent chance the Chinese would hand him over as part of a handshake
and a nod type deal where they're going to get... something, but we
may never know what.  Anything from tarif exemptions, returning
Chinese spies, backing off on some US military (cyber?) operation or
something else.


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