Hong Kong rally backs Snowden, denounces allegations of U.S. spying

HONG KONG Sat Jun 15, 2013 1:28pm EDT

1 of 3. A protester supporting Edward Snowden, a former contractor at the National Security Agency (NSA), holds a placard showing pictures of Snowden and Hong Kong actor Jackie Chan during a demonstration in Hong Kong June 15, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Bobby Yip

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HONG KONG (Reuters) - A few hundred rights advocates and political activists marched through Hong Kong on Saturday to demand protection for Edward Snowden, who leaked revelations of U.S. electronic surveillance and is now believed to be holed up in the former British colony.

Marchers gathered outside the U.S. consulate shouting slogans denouncing alleged spying operations aimed at China and Hong Kong, but the numbers were modest compared to rallies over other rights and political issues.

"Arrest Obama, free Snowden," protesters shouted outside the slate grey building as police looked on. Many waved banners that said: "Betray Snowden, betray freedom", "Big brother is watching you" and "Obama is checking your email".

Some blew whistles in support of Snowden, 29, the American former CIA contractor who has acknowledged being behind leaks of the surveillance programs by the National Security Agency.

The procession moved on to government headquarters in the city, which reverted to Chinese rule in 1997 but enjoys far more liberal laws on dissent and freedom of expression.

About a dozen groups organized two rallies, including the city's two largest political camps. Leaders of major political parties sought explanations for Snowden's allegations of spying.

Hong Kong's largest pro-Beijing political party, the DAB, demanded an apology from Washington, clarification of "illegal" espionage activities and an immediate halt to them.

"I think the Hong Kong government should protect him," the DAB's vice-chairwoman, Starry Lee, said outside the consulate.

Snowden reportedly flew to Hong Kong on May 20. He checked out of a luxury hotel on Monday and his whereabouts remain unknown. Snowden has said he intends to stay in Hong Kong to fight any potential U.S. moves to extradite him.

CHINA AVOIDS COMMENT ON CASE

China has avoided any explicit comment on its position towards Snowden. A senior source with ties to the Communist Party leadership said Beijing was reluctant to jeopardize recently improved ties with Washington.

Snowden told the South China Morning Post this week that Americans had spied extensively on targets including the Chinese University of Hong Kong that hosts an exchange which handles nearly all the city's domestic web traffic. Other alleged targets included government officials, businesses and students.

Snowden pledged not to "hide from justice" and said he would place his trust in Hong Kong's legal system. Some legal experts, however, say an extradition treaty between Hong Kong and the United States has functioned smoothly since 1998.

It is unclear whether Chinese authorities would intervene over any U.S. attempts to extradite Snowden, though lawyers say Beijing has rarely interfered with extradition cases.

His arrival comes at a sensitive time for Hong Kong leader Leung Chun-ying, whose popularity has sunk since taking office last year amid a series of scandals and corruption probes into prominent figures. Leung has offered no comment on Snowden.

Interest among residents into the case is growing and numbers could rise if extradition proceedings are launched.

Demonstrations on issues ranging from denunciations of pro-communist education policy imposed by Beijing, high property prices and a growing wealth gap have attracted large crowds.

A vigil marking the anniversary of China's June 1989 crackdown on democracy advocates drew tens of thousands this month and a record 180,000 last year.

Diplomats and opposition figures in the city have warned of growing behind-the-scenes meddling by Beijing in Hong Kong's affairs, as well as deep-rooted spying activities.

(Additional reporting by James Pomfret and Anne-Marie Roantree; Writing by James Pomfret; Editing by Ron Popeski)

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Comments (8)
Tiu wrote:
He won’t hide from justice he says from his hiding place.
The animals do double-speak too!

Jun 15, 2013 9:21am EDT  --  Report as abuse
CMEBARK wrote:
Support for this guy seems to be generational…18-37 year olds. Some have said this is because this the generation grew up with the free internet. They simply never experienced the Cold War. They are idealistic to a fault.

Jun 15, 2013 9:49am EDT  --  Report as abuse
sam2sam wrote:
Freedom on the Rocks: Tyranny versus Terrorism

I called out this domestic eavesdropping abuse, in writing, on October 30, 2010 in the Rapid City Journal:

“For national security purposes, Americans are already subject to warrantless wiretaps of calls and emails, the warrantless GPS “tagging” of their vehicles, the domestic use of Predators or other spy-in-the-sky drones, and the Department of Homeland Security’s monitoring of all our behavior through ‘data fusion centers.’ (Google that, it’s an eyeopener.)

Where was the hue and cry or outrage?

“I told you so” isn’t seemly, but it can be instructive. My warning then was accurate, my claims now confirmed by the NSA, and my conclusion vindicated.

However, we’re still not being told the full truth.

Our phone calls, GPS locations, emails, audios, videos, photographs, Google searches, Facebook postings, and domestic drone surveillance data are all being recorded for key words and patterns and then electronically “fused” (merged and collated) with a master data file that includes our banking records, credit card charges, travel records, store purchases, etc.

Still evolving technically, the secret national security goal is to build, over time, a detailed mathematical 3-D model of every citizen’s psychographic patterns for behavior analysis and prediction purposes (seriously “Big Brother”- go rent the sci-fi film Minority Report).

How do I know this? Simple, two Israeli firms with deep Mossad connections, Narus (now wholly-owned by Boeing) and Verint, drop-dead technical experts in behavior prediction modeling, are closely working with the NSA, DHS, etc. Narus’ corporate website home page clearly touts its advanced analytics as “Fusing together hundreds of data dimensions for deep, focused insight and control.”

As former Booz Allen Hamilton NSA technical consultant, now fugitive whistleblower, Edward Snowden recently said ”…they are intent on making every conversation and every form of behavior in the world known to them.”

The NSA is just now commissioning a massive $2 billion data fusion center in Bluffdale, Utah, where avatars (images used to represent each of us in their virtual world) will soon reside, subject to on-demand, retroactive digital strip searches of every aspect of our lives… all without our knowledge or permission.

Worse, we’re already being digitally censored; when I tried to share the already released Anonymous web links to Snowden’s recently-revealed NSA documents proving we’re all being bugged, Facebook blocked my post.

The 4th. Amendment to the U. S. Constitution clearly states: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

Our rights trashed, America’s freedoms on rocks, the Federal government insists all its snooping actions are legal under the Patriot Act, FISA, the NDAA and their extensions.

We’re given a choice of false alternatives; either submit to electronic tyranny… or risk more terror attacks. Hint: the hidden agenda is control.

The dollar bill in our pocket or purse carries our nation’s symbolic “all-seeing eye” on its reverse side; how ironic it’s now been replaced by the NSA’s real “all-seeing eye” attached to our lifestyles and smart phones.

Political philosopher Montesquieu said:”There is no greater tyranny than that which is perpetrated under the shield of law and in the name of justice.”

The scandals now in Washington make it clear power is being abused for political purposes; who’s watching the watchers?

Wake-up America!

Jun 15, 2013 10:38am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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