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Wikileaks Aiding Snowden - Chinese Social Media Divided - Relations Strained 629

Posted by samzenpus
from the in-today's-smowden-news dept.
cold fjord writes "Despite the US cancelling his passport, Edward Snowden continues his travels aided by Wikileaks, and is leaving a trail of strained diplomatic relations in his wake. It appears China gifted the issue to Russia. From Yahoo: 'Lawyer Albert Ho, ... a Hong Kong legislator ... told reporters he was approached by Snowden several days ago, and that the American had sought assurances ... whether he could leave the city freely if he chose to do so... Snowden later told Ho an individual claiming to represent the Hong Kong government had contacted him and indicated he should leave the city, and wouldn't be stopped ... Ho said he believed the middleman was acting on Beijing's orders.' From the NYT: Julian Assange, ...said in an interview ... 'that he had raised Mr. Snowden's case with Ecuador's government and that his group had helped arrange the travel documents.' From WSJ: 'Edward Snowden has generated more than a million posts on one of China's biggest social media platforms... Sina Weibo, a popular Chinese microblogging service, exploded with activity on Sunday as Mr. Snowden left ... Mr. Snowden was hailed as a hero ... last week, but posts on Sunday and Monday were divided... "All crows are black," said a number of users, citing an Chinese old saying, to describe both American and Chinese government's surveillance programs. ... "Snowden has helped China so much. Why did we let him go?" said one ... Some suggested that China should keep Mr. Snowden as a weapon against repeated accusations of China hacking U.S. companies. More extreme users complained that China is "too soft on the U.S." "Russia is a real strong country to accept him," ... Another popular term: "hot potato," reflecting relief that Hong Kong wouldn't have to stand against U.S. efforts to take him into custody. Some users criticized Mr. Snowden for fleeing.' From the Guardian: 'Snowden's escape from Hong Kong infuriated US politicians, while China focused on condemning Washington over his latest disclosures, which suggested the NSA had hacked into Chinese mobile phone companies ... Moscow was also drawn into the controversy after it emerged that Snowden's passport had been revoked before he left Hong Kong and he did not have a visa for Russia. But Russia appeared indifferent to the uproar, with one official saying Snowden was safe from the authorities as long as he remained in the transit lounge at the city's Sheremetyevo airport. Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, said: "I know nothing."' From ABC: Snowden registered for the flight to Havana that leaves Moscow on Monday..."
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Wikileaks Aiding Snowden - Chinese Social Media Divided - Relations Strained

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  • by xaxa (988988) on Monday June 24, 2013 @09:07AM (#44091399)

    According to the Guardian [guardian.co.uk], Snowdon is not on the plane to Havana.

  • by De Lemming (227104) on Monday June 24, 2013 @09:26AM (#44091601) Homepage

    This page [piratetimes.net] at the Pirate Times provides live updates.

    Last two updates at the moment:

    14:45 (CEST) Ecuadorian Ambassador in Vietnam states confirms that Edward Snowden has requested asylum and mentions that the USA often refused to extradite criminals including bankers.

    13:10 (CEST) A plane bound for Cuba with a booking for Snowden and another person has left Moscow but with Ed Snowden apparently not on board according to Russian Television English Service [rt.com]

  • Passports and Visas (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 24, 2013 @09:32AM (#44091643)

    Is it just the USA that doesn't understand the traditional use of Passports and Visas?

    A Visa was only required to 'Enter' the destination country. As Snowden was never going to enter Russia (transit lounges are no-mans land) he didn't need one. No reason to prevent him flying to Russia.

    A Passport should not be needed to leave a country. Afterall, you are LEAVING, what cause to stop you?
    On arrival in Russa, he's not entering the country, therefore no need for a Passport again.

    I'm not aware of any other country that has destroyed the free travel rights of people as much as the US. Even to fly from Canada to Cuba the US has the 'aquired' the right to deny you flights, because it's close enough to their airspace. And as the airlines are so terrified of loosing landing rights to US international airports they comply.

  • by FriendlyLurker (50431) on Monday June 24, 2013 @09:42AM (#44091747)
    I see you left Britain off that list, as it should be. Even the majority of its press is cowed and subservient [guardian.co.uk] these days. Should probably strike off Australia as well it is well on the way down the slippery slope [slashdot.org], NZ is on the knife edge... Oh, and forget Sweden while your at it - what a corrupt, shady country it has become [professorsblogg.com].
  • by SirGarlon (845873) on Monday June 24, 2013 @09:56AM (#44091913)

    Well, specifically I was thinking of the right to openly join an unpopular political party like the Nazis or Communists. Not that I want to do that! But who knows what will be considered subversive in the future?

    How about citizenship for the descendants of immigrants? (Yeah, I know the US has problems with kids who came across the border from Latin America. The discussion is about whether there's a country that is more free than the US, not whether the US is without flaws.)

    Equal protection: if my skin color is different from the majority population's and someone harasses you, do the police bother to prosecute? How about if I'm gay? (Again, the US has spotty quality here, but name a country that does better.) What happens when I apply for a job, try to rent an apartment, etc?

    Religious freedom: can I convert to Islam? How about Scientology? Can I promote my religion in public? Or what if I'm an atheist and don't want to pay a tithe to the local church/mosque/temple?

    Rights of the accused: how long can I be held without charges? What access do I have to evidence against me? Between the USA PATRIOT Act and historic racial/economic tensions, the US is exceptionally bad at this, so some European countries may easily win here.

    These are the sorts of things I have in mind. I'm better informed than most Americans, but that's not saying much. I know some European expatriates who are totally disinterested in going back. I can't really say whether the US or France/Germany are worse, but I can say it's not simple and clear-cut. It depends on what matters to you.

  • Re:Hoo boy. (Score:0, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 24, 2013 @09:57AM (#44091925)

    I'm sorry, do you think Hillary is still secretary of state?

    read much?

  • by orzetto (545509) on Monday June 24, 2013 @10:08AM (#44092043)

    Norway here. There are minor antisemitic far-right groupings (Vigrid, Norgespatriotene), though modern far-right ideology is much more anti-immigrant that anti-Jewish. Muslims in their observant clothing in Oslo are far more common than in NY (yes, I have been there), some middle-easterners I know joked that parts of Oslo look like Lahore (and thank the flying spaghetti monster for that, at least there is some decent food around!). Norway has a murder rate 8 times lower than the US, and in one place where you need to defend yourself (Svalbard, from polar bears) you are handed a shotgun after getting off the plane.

    I also lived in Germany, and while neo-Nazis are ostensibly banned they do have their stores (Thor Steinar chain) and their not-so-well-disguised party (NPD), plus some others. Also there, muslims wear what they want, and the murder rate is 6 times lower than the US.

  • by Cenan (1892902) on Monday June 24, 2013 @10:15AM (#44092151)

    Currently living in a random European country, I will most certainly make that claim.

  • by AmiMoJo (196126) * <mojoNO@SPAMworld3.net> on Monday June 24, 2013 @10:27AM (#44092257) Homepage

    The European concept of freedom of expression thus prohibits certain content and viewpoints, whereas, with certain exceptions, the American concept is generally concerned solely with direct incitement likely to result in overt acts of lawlessness.

    The author misunderstands the European situation. Our laws are supposed to be the same as the US ones, i.e. they prevent incitement likely to result in overt acts of lawlessness. We just place the bar for that differently, IMHO too low, but the intention is the same.

    Some states go further than required by EU, which complicates the situation and leads to the kind of misunderstanding that we see here. The author confuses the two. We are not like the US, we don't have federal laws. The EU can create directives which it is then up to each state to implement, and with implementation varying somewhat. We also have the European Court of Human Rights, which is not part of the EU but which all member states are signed up to. It deals with freedom of speech but is not governed by the EU directly.

    To take the specific example of "defamation of religions", blasphemy is no longer a crime in the UK and you can insult Mohammed freely. We are moving towards greater freedom to criticize religion, not less.

  • by YttriumOxide (837412) <yttriumox@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Monday June 24, 2013 @10:53AM (#44092549) Homepage Journal

    I don't know the US details, but in general, all of the items you mentioned are very good here in Germany... I would be interested to hear how the US compares.

    How about citizenship for the descendants of immigrants?

    I'm a dual national of New Zealand and Australia living in Germany. My wife is German. Our daughter holds all three nationalities and none of the countries takes issue with that.

    From what I understand, if my wife were not German either, I or her would have to have been here eight years or hold permanent residence (i.e. actually have immigrated rather than being a 'long term visitor') in order for our child to get German citizenship at birth. If neither is the case, the child is not German at birth, however can choose to apply for citizenship once they meet the same requirements as anyone else (generally just living here for long enough; so if the parents do end up being permanent residents or of course apply for citizenship themselves, the child will likely become German)

    Equal protection: if my skin color is different from the majority population's and someone harasses you, do the police bother to prosecute? How about if I'm gay? (Again, the US has spotty quality here, but name a country that does better.) What happens when I apply for a job, try to rent an apartment, etc?

    Here in Germany, there is some level of racism by a minority against Turkish people and occasionally Arabic people; however it's generally not very bad (not as bad as for example, what I saw against pretty much any "non-perfectly-white foreigner" in Australia). The law states equal protection and rights for all and there are official channels/procedures in place that can be followed if you believe you have been unfairly discriminated against. These do get used from time to time and the penalties are harsh. Police are very thorough about making sure they do not discriminate as the punishments for them are extremely harsh if they are found guilty of doing so.

    I've never seen anyone have a problem with jobs or apartments other than when they don't speak the language, and that's more of a practical matter than a discriminatory one (if the job requires German, you can't really do it... and if your landlord doesn't speak the same language as you, it's a bit hard to both sign a rental agreement or conduct general affairs with them (not impossible; but it's probably easier to find a landlord that does have a common language with you))

    There is extremely little to no discrimination against people based on sexual preference or activity as far as I've seen (even in a fairly 'reserved' pub I used to go to, there was a fairly flamboyant gay man that used to hang out there as well and no-one took issue with it at all (except when he got very drunk and a little 'hands-on'; but then it was more or less just telling him sternly that his advances were not welcome - really no different to the same behaviour by straight people)).

    Religious freedom: can I convert to Islam? How about Scientology? Can I promote my religion in public? Or what if I'm an atheist and don't want to pay a tithe to the local church/mosque/temple?

    Germany does have an archaic and stupid system of paying a church tax. However if you declare yourself to be an atheist (or a religion other than the ones they've got processes in place for) there is no church tax due. I am an atheist and pay nothing to any religious group.

    You are free to 'officially' convert to any religion you wish that is formally recognised as a religion. Even in such cases that your religion is not formally recognised, you are welcome to practice your beliefs at home; you just can't be officially recognised as that religion by the state (and why should you care unless you religion dictates that you do something otherwise illegal?).

    Rights of the accused: how long can I be held without charges? What access do I have to evidence against

  • by jopsen (885607) <jopsen@gmail.com> on Monday June 24, 2013 @11:06AM (#44092673) Homepage

    If you actually lived in any random European country I doubt you'd be making that claim.

    I'm living in a random European country and would certainly make that claim.

    There's a degree of logging, but the logs are held by the ISPs and may only be queried with normal court order.

    Granted I'm actually in the process of relocating to the US (why? don't know), but I'm not afraid of the NSA. I'm sure they couldn't care less about my personal correspondence...
    I'm not saying I don't think it is a serious violation of human rights, only that it probably has limited practical implications for me.

    There always differences, also in healthcare, but given that I'm not poor or ill, it'll probably have few implications for me.

  • by ahabswhale (1189519) on Monday June 24, 2013 @11:34AM (#44092909)

    Given recent events, apparently your freedom is pretty damn illusive in a lot of these other countries as well given that a lot of US allies are doing the exact same thing.

  • by jbssm (961115) on Monday June 24, 2013 @11:58AM (#44093109)

    Can't decide if you are trolling or just living under a rock.

    Sorry if I'm destroying your wet dreams of "America no.1 fuck yeahhhhhh!", but here it goes some data: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_the_press#Worldwide_press_freedom_index [wikipedia.org]
    http://reliefweb.int/map/world/world-human-rights-risk-index-2013 [reliefweb.int]

  • by AthanasiusKircher (1333179) on Monday June 24, 2013 @12:01PM (#44093145)

    Immigrating to Europe is a lot easier

    Are you serious? Yes, it's generally easier to move from one EU nation to another. But if you're coming from outside the EU, be ready for some significant obstacles. To go to Germany [wikipedia.org], be ready to satisfy similar conditions to the U.S. in terms of being a "highly skilled worker," and for some countries, like the Netherlands, you may even have to pass an exam in Dutch and on the culture of the country [wikipedia.org] before even being allowed in.

    And once you're there, be prepared to meet anti-immigrant discrimination and stereotypes that are often stronger than those in the U.S. In many European countries, numerous polls suggest that the majority of the population would prefer to stop immigration altogether. (I've heard this sentiment from European friends, who are otherwise quite "liberal" compared to U.S. political standards.) The anti-immigrant discrimination is incredibly well-known, particularly for certain groups in certain countries like the Turks in Germany [wikipedia.org], or Muslims in France [wikipedia.org]. Opposition to immigrants from such groups has often lead to major demonstrations and occasionally even large-scale rioting [wikipedia.org]. There are also some mainstream political parties [wikipedia.org] in European countries that are known for opposition to immigration.

    For some EU countries, it may be a little easier to immigrate from a non-EU country than it would be to come to the U.S., particularly if you are a skilled worker or have family already in the country. But the amount of discrimination and hatred against immigrants in general in many EU countries is probably much stronger than in the U.S., despite the fact that expressing such views is officially dismissed as "racist" or even criminal in many countries.

    And in terms of "human rights," I suggest you spend just a minute or two Googling French prison conditions. Every 2-3 years, there's usually a big "expose" about how terrible French prisons are, all of the English-language media is suitably "shocked" that this is happening in a "civilized" country, and then everyone goes back to drinking wine and eating their Brie, while nothing ever changes.

    Are EU nations better than the U.S. in protecting some rights? Sure. But it's not just the Westboro Baptists the U.S. is protecting -- freedom of speech is protecting against potentially abusive laws that try to legislate "civility," such as in Germany where you can be taken to court for insulting someone or flipping them the "bird."

    So yeah, on the whole I agree with the GP -- the EU in general is probably no better or worse than the U.S., though yes, YMMV in individual countries.

  • by lemur3 (997863) on Monday June 24, 2013 @12:45PM (#44093527)

    really? england ?

    what about ASBOs ?

    https://www.gov.uk/asbo [www.gov.uk]

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-social_behaviour_order [wikipedia.org]

    those seem kinda of anti-freedom to me.


    11. A 13-year-old was served an order banning him from using the word "grass" anywhere in England and Wales.

    12. In May 2004, a 16-year-old boy was banned from behaving in an anti-social manner at school. The five year order covers the whole of England and Wales and came as a response to his disruption of a science class

    19. The oldest recipient of an order to date is an 87-year-old who among other things is forbidden from being sarcastic to his neighbours (July 2003). He was subsequently found guilty of breaking the terms of his order on three separate occasions. He awaits sentencing but the judge has already made it clear that "there will be no prison for an 88 year old man".

    source: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200405/cmselect/cmhaff/80/80we20.htm [parliament.uk]

  • by Patch86 (1465427) on Monday June 24, 2013 @01:08PM (#44093817)

    I will undo some moderation so as to answer your points from a UK perspective.

    1. In Britain we have both active Communist Parties (and a whole assortment of other hard-left groups) and active Fascist Parties (including both the BNP & NF). You are free to join any of them (although I'd prefer you didn't).

    2. Any child born to a person who is "settled" in the UK (that is, has the right to remain in the country indefinitely- in practice including all immigrants and excluding tourists/visitors) becomes a citizen.

    3. We've had our fair share of scandals over the years, and I think in general the UK has come out of the other side with first class protections for minority groups. Not perfect, obviously, but the legal framework we have now is extremely robust. Anecdotally, we seem to get far fewer racism/homophobia scandals here than the US seems to get.

    4. You can be any religion you like. I'm an atheist (and a strongly willed one too), and I've barely had so much as a sniff of a reason to complain. Atheism is not a dirty word- both the Deputy Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition are avowed atheists, and nobody seems to mind. You can be Catholic, Protestant, Muslim (up-to and including the hardcore varieties with the full face masks and so forth), Scientologist, Wiccan, Moony, whatever. You can wear your religious kit in public, take your holy days off work, all the things you could ask for. We can be a bit touchy where a person's religious belief is used to justify discrimination or whatnot in conflict with point 3 (for example, a recent case where a Hotelier refused to serve a gay couple as it was against his "Christian values"); in these instances, point 3 tends to trump point 4. Back on the politics front; I can't imagine there being much fuss if a (moderate) Muslim were a candidate to be Prime Minister, in contrast to the terrifying "Obama is a Muslim" nonsense in the States. Although having typed that, I'm probably prepared to be negatively surprised on that front.

    5. I believe pre-charge detention is limited to 24 hours, extendible up to 96 hours with the agreement of a Magistrate's Court. This compares with 72 hours "in normal circumstance" in the USA, so pretty comparable.

    To be honest, the US & UK are probably very similar in all sorts of ways. Most things you like about the US you'll probably find here, most things you dislike about the US are probably here too.

  • by toutankh (1544253) on Monday June 24, 2013 @01:52PM (#44094371)

    As a French living in Austria I have to agree with you: there is racism in Europe, this cannot be overstated.

    I do not believe, like your link to the 2005 riots in France on wikipedia says, that the riots from 2005 had a racial motivation. The situation with the French suburbs is complicated and people's origins are a part of it, but just a part of it. The French version of the same wikipedia article mentions suburbs with poverty, unemployment and lack of safety as the context where the English version mentions "a series of riots by Muslim, Arab and North African immigrants". Both might be true (although they were definitely white non-muslim people in there too) but as you know there is a difference between correlation and causation.

    It is also true that in many European countries we have political parties mainly focused on racism (let's call it as it is).
    These parties are usually not one of the two main parties though. In the USA you have the republican party, which as you know is one of the two main parties. Here's what they've done [wikipedia.org].

    On a related note, I have to remind you about segregation in the USA. You probably know about Rosa Parks. Let's not forget lynching, which apparently lasted until the 1960's [wikipedia.org].

    Since that's already a long time ago, maybe you want to look at the recent presidential election in the USA [wikipedia.org].
    Funny how black people vote for the black candidate and white people vote for the white candidate. If that's not racism, I don't know what is. Interestingly, the black candidate also has the majority for all non-white demographic subgroups. Look at it any way you like, you will always trace it back to racism.

    I could go on, I won't, some people already have, it's here [wikipedia.org].

    I agree that the USA are better than Europe at protecting freedom of expression, by the way. I really wish we had a similar freedom of expression in Europe. But if you want to say how the USA are better than Europe for some things, maybe you shouldn't mention racism: both Europe and the USA are awfully racist in their own way.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 24, 2013 @02:06PM (#44094563)

    Dunno if you understand that passport is just two things:

    1) ID of a person

    2) A letter of no objection behalf of government granting it stating that they have nothing against that person can travel.

    It's basically a continuation of recommendation travel letter that was issued from ancient times in europe to someone leaving his home city or country.

    No country is need to require such document from someone, but for practical reasons its usually done. Some nationalities may not need passport to enter a country, only ID card is enough. Such a arrangement is between US & Canada, within EU countries that joined Schengen agreement, with Scandinavian countries and Finland, Arabian peninsula (GCC) countries citizens can roam any country there just presenting ID card when crossing border, just to mention few.

    Snowden do not need a passport to leave from HK, their officials do not need to check if US has objections him not to travel. Nor he needs necessarily it to enter Russia if their officials don't ask him to present one, and they may not be required to ask. No international law requires, it's purely up to themselves to desire how to handle it. A foreign or domestic person who do not have passport, for example being cancelled, or who cannot be given national passport may be given transit passport or so called alien's passport if person do not have nationality and there is the need to travel.

    The passport is usually required in some countries to leave ones home country, as explained above then it is appropriate to check if government has no objections or not and to write down to a record who left, where and when. In same way once coming back return is documented. But once you are out, it's more up to the country where you are going, transiting etc. what they want to check. US for example has for some time already asked visa even for transit flight just stopping there and regardless passenger is not exiting from international area of the airport. You will not get to flight from Europe to Mexico via US unless you have US visa too. This is of course a way to sell visas and make some money, but brainchild idea of the beloved TSA.

    Oh, and some countries do require passport and both enter and exit visas, one such country is Saudi-Arabia where I used to work long time ago.

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