courtesy Guardian.co.uk edited by TiA Staff
Whistleblower Edward Snowden should not consider himself safe in Hong Kong, which has co-operated with the CIA before to remove America’s enemies, the emergencies director of Human Rights Watch has warned.
“There’s little doubt [reason] to believe that the Hong Kong authorities would not co-operate with the CIA in this case,” said Peter Bouckaert, who after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi found faxes in Tripoli indicating that the Hong Kong authorities had co-operated with the CIA in rendering an anti-Gaddafi Islamist to Libya.
Snowden said he had chosen Hong Kong as the place from which to reveal his identity as the source of the Guardian’s series of stories about US surveillance because “they have a spirited commitment to free speech and the right of political dissent“, and because he believed that it was one of the few places in the world that could and would resist the dictates of the US government.
Bouckaert, however, said Snowden was mistaken on both points.
“The rendition of [Sami al-]Saadi took place nine years ago in 2004, but I certainly would not consider Hong Kong a safe place for him [Snowden] at the moment,” he told the Guardian.
“Certainly the reputation of Hong Kong as a place where free speech is defended has decreased in recent years, [and] there is no reason to believe that the very close relationship which is visible from these faxes between the intelligence agency in Hong Kong and the CIA has changed in a significant way … and that Snowden would not be at risk from extradition from Hong Kong.”
He added: “It’s very clear from the faxes that the Hong Kong authorities at the time co-operated very closely with both the CIA and MI6 in bringing Saadi back to Libya, where he was later tortured and sentenced to death.” In the event he was not executed.
Snowden is currently in Hong Kong, but he moved to a new hotel in an unknown location on Monday. A landmark legal ruling in Hong Kong could buy him time if he decides to apply for asylum there. Meanwhile activists in Iceland are making preparations should the whistleblower try to head there, as he has indicated he might. “My predisposition is to seek asylum in a country with shared values. The nation that most encompasses this is Iceland. They stood up for people over internet freedom,” he told the Guardian.
On Tuesday, a spokesman for Vladimir Putin said that if Snowden applied for asylum in Russia, the request would be considered.
“If such an appeal is given, it will be considered. We’ll act according to facts,” said Dmitry Peskov.
The move seems to have more to do with Russia’s support for anti-western dissidents than any commitment to freedom of speech of whistleblowing.
At the end of last year British ministers agreed to pay more than £2m to the family of Saadi by way of compensation and without admitting any liability in the case.
Thank you. TiA.