Tag Archives: Hong Kong

Edward Snowden whereabouts unknown as US presses Russia – as it happened

English: Moscow, the Kremlin. Cathedral Square
English: Moscow, the Kremlin. Cathedral Square (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
English: Embassy of the Russia Federation in H...
English: Embassy of the Russia Federation in Havana Español: Embajada de la Federación de Rusia en La Habana Français : Ambassade de la fédération de Russie à la Havane (Cuba). Русский: Посольство Российской Федерации в Гаване (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
English: Moscow-city 2010,March
English: Moscow-city 2010,March (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Edward Snowden is expected to catch a plane today from Moscow to Cuba as he attempts to reach Ecuador and evade US attempts to have him extradited and tried on espionage charges.

Snowden – the former NSA contractor whose leaks to the Guardian about US intelligence programmes have caused controversy around the world – yesterday fled Hong Kong for Moscow after the authorities in the Chinese province said Washington’s provisional warrant did not fully comply with legal requirements. He had travelled to Hong Kong on 20 May as a base from which to reveal his secrets and his identity.

A representative of Russia’s Aeroflot airline told the Associated Press that Snowden registered for the flight to Havana that leaves Moscow today at 2.05pm (11.05am BST). He is expected to then leave Havana for Ecuador – the country that has granted asylum to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange at its embassy in London.

The airline says he registered for the flight on Sunday using his US passport – which American officials say has been annulled as part of an effort to prosecute him for revealing the highly classified government secrets.

Ecuador’s foreign minister said Sunday that Quito is considering his application for asylum.

We’ll have live coverage of all the latest developments here throughout the day.
Miriam Elder is at the airport in Moscow about to get on what we hope is the same plane to Havana as Edward Snowden. She told me:

As far as we know he’s expected to get on this flight to Havana in two hours, around 2pm Moscow time. There is speculation that maybe all this information that he’ll be on it is a ruse, but there’s a whole lot of journalists here taking the chance that he’ll be on that flight.

I asked her what the reaction had been in Russia to Snowden’s sudden arrival in Moscow yesterday.

It’s obviously been huge. It’s been a really big story. The airport has been crawling both with international journalists and Russian journalists … We haven’t had any really huge statements from Russian officials; Putin hasn’t commented on it. The foreign ministry, last I checked, just said they were looking into what his plans are.

And you’ve had a lot of Russian MPs calling for him to stay here and all I can say, being at the airport until 1am last night, is that there were Russian undercover agents all over the terminal where we believed him to be. It was really clear that the Russians were in charge of the situation here. There were Ecuadorian diplomats milling around trying to get to talk to him but the Russians seemed to be controlling everything here.

Miriam reiterated that there had been no confirmation of American speculation that the countries allowing Snowden to visit were getting information from him in exchange, but she said: “I would expect that Russian officials would be very eager to talk to him. And not only to talk to him to get information from him, but I suspect maybe to try to get him to stay here. Again, there’s no confirmation of that at all.”

She added that Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, had repeated to her that Moscow would consider any asylum request from Snowden.

I talked to Peskov yesterday morning and he said yes. I said, ‘Would you consider an asylum request from him?’ and he said, ‘Yes, that’s just standard procedure. That’s what we do for every application that we get.’

Elsewhere Peskov said the Kremlin was unaware of any contact between Snowden and the Russian authorities.

Miriam has tweeted a picture of the plane.


NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden ‘requests asylum in Ecuador’

Seal of the United States Department of Justice
Seal of the United States Department of Justice (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Edward Snowden, the NSA whistleblower who revealed the existence of a wide-ranging US online surveillance program, has requested asylum from Ecuador, the government’s foreign minister has announced.

Snowden arrived in Moscow earlier today after leaving Hong Kong, where he had sought refuge from US charges of espionage and theft, following White House confirmation that the US had begun the extradition process with the city’s semi-autonomous government.

Aboard Aeroflot flight SU213, Snowden landed in the Russian capital just after 5pm local time with a companion from online activist group Wikileaks, who helped the former intelligence officer leave China.

It is believed that Snowden will tomorrow travel from Moscow to a final destination that is yet to be disclosed. However, according to Ecuadorian foreign minister Ricardo Patiño Aroca, he has now filed a formal bid for protection from the Latin American country.

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has claimed his organisation helped Snowden leave Hong Kong in search of “political asylum in a democratic country,” but did not specify his target nation.

Assange, who has himself been avoiding extradition in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for over a year, told The Sydney Morning Herald: “He will be met by diplomats from the country that will be his ultimate destination. Diplomats from that country will accompany him on a further flight to his destination.”

He added: “Owing to WikiLeaks‘ own circumstances, we have developed significant expertise in international asylum and extradition law, associated diplomacy and the practicalities in these matters. I have great personal sympathy for Ed Snowden’s position.”

A statement from the Hong Kong government confirmed that Snowden left the Chinese city to a third country this morning, adding: “The United States previously requested Hong Kong to issue a provisional arrest warrant for Mr Snowden.

“Because the US request failed to fully comply with the requirements under Hong Kong law, the US Department of Justice was asked to provide further information. The failure to provide sufficient information in this case meant there was no legal basis to restrict Mr Snowden’s departure.”

In response, the US Department of Justice said they would continue to seek extradition elsewhere. “We have been informed by the Hong Kong authorities Mr Snowden has departed for a third country,” a spokeswoman said. “We will continue to discuss this mater with Hong Kong and pursue relevant law enforcement cooperation with other countries where Mr Snowden may be attempting to travel.”

Speculation surrounding Snowden’s plans has continued throughout the day with possible final destinations being named in reports as Venezuela, Iceland, Cuba and Ecuador.

Russia’s Interfax news agency quoted a source at the Aeroflot airline as saying there is a ticket in Snowden’s name for an onward flight to Cuba that leaves tomorrow and a subsequent booking on a local flight to Caracas, Venezuela.

The source added that Snowden did not have a Russian visa and would therefore wait for his connecting flight in the airport’s transit area. “In this case, he will not need to pass border control. Thus, the law enforcement agencies of our country will not be able to stop him,” the source reportedly said.

However, an embassy vehicle carrying the Ecuadorian ambassador to Russia was photographed arriving at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport shortly after Snowden landed.

Speaking with The Guardian, Ambassador Patricio Chavez said he had not spoken with Snowden, did not know where he was and would not confirm whether he had been seen by Ecuadorian officials. Asked why he was there, Chavez reportedly said: “We have an interest in knowing what is happening to him.”

A spokesman for Russian president Vladimir Putin said they were unaware of Snowden’s location or plans, but US politicians have hit out at the former Cold War enemy for not already intervening on their behalf.

Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer told CNN: “Allies are supposed to treat each other in decent ways, and Putin always seems almost eager to put a finger in the eye of the United States, whether it is Syria, Iran and now, of course, with Snowden. I think it’ll have serious consequences for the United States-Russia relationship.”

The news comes amid new allegations by Snowden that the NSA ‘prism’ program was used to hack Chinese mobile phone data, which could have impacted on China’s compliance with extradition proceedings.

An editorial in China’s official state news agency, which is believed to represent the government’s feelings, labelled the US a “villain” and demanded an explanation of its activities.

The Xinhua statement said: “These, along with previous allegations, are clearly troubling signs. They demonstrate that the United States, which has long been trying to play innocent as a victim of cyber-attacks, has turned out to be the biggest villain in our age.”

Edward Snowden, NSA leaker, reportedly lands in Moscow

HQ of Hong Kong Government Flying Service
HQ of Hong Kong Government Flying Service (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

An Aeroflot flight from Hong Kong carrying Edward Snowden, the former contractor who leaked top-secret documents about U.S. surveillance programs, landed at Sheremetyevo International Airport in Russia on Sunday. Snowden left Hong Kong “on his own accord for a third country,” the government in Hong Kong said Sunday afternoon.

Snowden’s final destination was unclear. Russian news agency Interfax and Radio Ekho Moskvy reported that Snowden was booked on a flight to Cuba and then from Havana to Caracas, Venezuela. The next Aeroflot flight to Havana leaves Monday afternoon. Ecuador and Iceland have also been mentioned as possibilities.
A black BMW with diplomatic license plates assigned to the Ecuadorian Embassy was seen parked at Sheremetyevo, but it was unclear who might have been in the car.

Snowden is being aided in his travel by WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy organization that published hundreds of thousands of classified documents. The group posted on Twitter about 5 a.m. EDT that Snowden was “currently over Russian airspace accompanied by WikiLeaks legal advisors.” The organization later said Snowden was accompanied on his flight to Moscow by Sarah Harrison, who the organization said is a UK citizen, journalist and legal researcher working with the WikiLeaks legal defense team.

Snowden has drawn comparisons to Bradley Manning, the U.S. Army private who provided the secret files to WikiLeaks.

“The WikiLeaks legal team and I are interested in preserving Mr. Snowden’s rights and protecting him as a person,” said Baltasar Garzon, legal director of WikiLeaks and lawyer for Julian Assange, the group’s founder who has spent the past year holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. “What is being done to Mr. Snowden and to Mr. Julian Assange — for making or facilitating disclosures in the public interest — is an assault against the people.”

Snowden was being examined at the airport by a doctor from the Ecuadorian Embassy, according to RT, a television network financed by the Russian government.

The Hong Kong government said that documents from the U.S. government requesting a warrant for his arrest “did not fully comply with the legal requirements under Hong Kong law.” And so it has asked the United States to provide “additional information.”

“As the HKSAR Government has yet to have sufficient information to process the request for provisional warrant of arrest, there is no legal basis to restrict Mr. Snowden from leaving Hong Kong,” the statement said.

A a senior Justice Department official disputed that claim. “The request met the requirements of the agreement,” said the official who spoke on condition of anonymity. “They came back to us late Friday with additional questions and we were in the process of responding. Obviously this raises concerns for us and we will continue to discuss this with the authorities there.”

The Hong Kong government said it had informed the U.S. government that Snowden had left.

It has also formally written to the U.S. government asking for “clarification” on reports that computer systems in Hong Kong had been hacked by U.S. agencies.

The Facebook nightmare of a security bug exposing the contact information of some of its more than 1 billion members has come true, the social networking company admitted today. The good news is that the impact was minimal, outing only 6 million members’ email addresses and phone numbers in a very roundabout way, and Facebook has already corrected the White Hat glitch. “No company can ensure 100 percent prevention of bugs, and in rare cases we don’t discover a problem until it has already affected a person’s account,” Facebook said in a statement. “A bug may have allowed some of a person’s contact information (email or phone number) to be accessed by people who either had some contact information about that person or some connection to them.” Inadvertently stored information Facebook’s friend recommending service, which asks to use a member’s third-party contact lists and address books, is the source of this White Hat bug. “We try to match that data with the contact information of other people on Facebook in order to generate friend recommendations,” explained the company. “Some of the information used to make friend recommendations and reduce the number of invitations we send was inadvertently stored in association with people’s contact information as part of their account on Facebook.” No evidence of malicious hacking There is no evidence that this bug was exploited maliciously, according to Facebook, which said it has not received complaints from users or detected anomalous behavior. That’s probably because it would have taken a little work for a chance to access the exposed information. “If a person went to download an archive of their Facebook account through our Download Your Information (DYI) tool, they may have been provided with additional email addresses or telephone numbers for their contacts or people with whom they have some connection.” “This contact information was provided by other people on Facebook and was not necessarily accurate, but was inadvertently included with the contacts of the person using the DYI tool.” Facebook immediately disabled the DYI tool and fixed the issue within 24 hours, however, it’s still emailing the 6 million potentially affected users. It stressed that “no other types of personal or financial information were included and only people on Facebook – not developers or advertisers – have access to the DYI tool.” “Your trust is the most important asset we have,” Facebook said at the conclusion of its statement. “We are committed to improving our safety procedures and keeping your information safe and secure.”

A road block was set up by Hong Kong Police fo...
A road block was set up by Hong Kong Police for inspecting suspicious vehicles. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Metal workers' protest in Hong Kong.
Metal workers’ protest in Hong Kong. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Crime awareness campaign by Hong Kong Police F...
Crime awareness campaign by Hong Kong Police Force, at Causeway Bay Station of the MTR. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
English: A 46 segment × 3 exposure HDR panoram...
English: A 46 segment × 3 exposure HDR panorama of the Hong Kong night skyline. Taken from Lugard Road at Victoria Peak. Français : Vue panoramique de Hong Kong depuis Lugard Road sur Victoria Peak. Image construite en assemblant 138 clichés (46 visées × 3 expositions) réalisés et un objectif 70-200mm f/4L. Español: Un 46 segmento × 3 exposción HDR. Pánorama de Hong Kong durante la noche. Tomada desde Lugard Road en el Victoria Peak. Italiano: Vista notturna di Hong Kong dal Victoria Peak. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter as a police van in Hong...
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter as a police van in Hong Kong. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The request from the United States that Hong Kong detain Edward J. Snowden, who has been accused of stealing government secrets, before it seeks his return to America is likely to set off a tangled and protracted fight, with Mr. Snowden and his legal advisers having multiple tools to delay or thwart his being surrendered to American officials.
Mr. Snowden’s exact location was unclear Saturday, though he was believed to be hiding in a safe house in Hong Kong after leaving a hotel room two weeks ago upon revealing that he was the one who had leaked details of American surveillance efforts to the media. Hong Kong police officials would not comment Saturday about Mr. Snowden’s whereabouts.

Stephen Vickers, who oversaw police criminal intelligence in Hong Kong before Britain returned the territory to China in 1997, said Saturday that the Hong Kong police had certainly figured out where Mr. Snowden was hiding and should be able to detain him once Hong Kong government lawyers determined that the charges Mr. Snowden faced in the United States were also legal offenses in Hong Kong.

“I have no doubt whenever the government decides to take action, they will pick him up fast,” said Mr. Vickers, who now runs a risk consulting firm.

He said the United States government had been “terribly slow” to prepare charges, giving more time for human rights activists to find legal avenues for Mr. Snowden to pursue to avoid being surrendered to United States law enforcement officials.

If the Hong Kong police detain him, Mr. Snowden can appeal to a magistrate for his release. But he faces another complication: his 90-day tourist visa in Hong Kong runs out in mid-August, giving the local authorities another reason to keep him in custody.

The more daunting challenge facing the United States is its expected request to have Mr. Snowden sent back to America to face charges that he violated the Espionage Act and stole government property.

In recent weeks, Mr. Snowden’s plight has been seized on by myriad groups: by Hong Kong’s vocal human rights movement, by pro-Beijing activists attracted to his defiance of the United States and by those angered by Mr. Snowden’s claims that Hong Kong was itself a target of American surveillance. And with such a potent issue stirring passions here and abroad, lawyers will likely swarm over the case. (Mr. Snowden’s legal advisers have yet to come forward.)

Mr. Snowden and his lawyers could tie up any effort to send him back to the United States by claiming that “his offense is a political offense,” said Regina Ip, a former Hong Kong secretary of security and a current legislator, who added that such a claim would have “to go through various levels of our courts.” America’s treaty with Hong Kong covering the surrender of suspects has an exception for political offenses.

Alternatively, Mr. Snowden could apply for asylum. Currently, asylum claims in Hong Kong, which Hong Kong officials handle in cooperation with the office of the United Nations high commissioner for refugees, face delays of several years. Nazneen Farooqi, a local protection officer with the United Nations agency, did not address Mr. Snowden’s situation directly, but suggested that a case would not be fast-tracked, because “we prioritize older cases.” And asylum applicants can be held in detention for weeks, months or even longer.

Finally, China could apply behind-the-scenes pressure to slow the effort to have Mr. Snowden turned over. Hong Kong enjoys legal autonomy from mainland China, but Beijing can intervene in diplomatic and defense matters.

While Chinese officials have steered away from commenting on the specifics of Mr. Snowden’s plight, government and Communist Party-controlled news outlets have been increasingly sympathetic. An opinion piece in the state-run China Daily on Thursday suggested that “Snowden’s crime, if any, pales in comparison with the actions of the U.S. officials who authorized and operated the cyberespionage program.”

If Mr. Snowden is arrested, he faces one of two possibilities: He remains in detention, or he persuades a magistrate to grant him bail, which one lawyer with experience in Hong Kong surrender cases called a possibility. Still, bail would mean Mr. Snowden would need to report to the police once a day, and it would be nearly impossible to leave Hong Kong (so a trip to Iceland, one of his desired destinations, would be out of the question while his case was being adjudicated).

Should he go to jail, Mr. Snowden would “have slightly greater privileges than prisoners” elsewhere in Hong Kong, said the lawyer, who did not want his name published because of the passions surrounding he case.

“Conditions in the jails here are better than in Britain or the U.S.,” the lawyer said. “He will be given the choice of Chinese or Western food,” and would have more visiting rights than regular prisoners.

And, the lawyer said, Mr. Snowden would have access to books in prison, “but no computers.”

U.S. charges Snowden with espionage

The Robert F. Kennedy Department of Justice Bu...
The Robert F. Kennedy Department of Justice Building in Washington, D.C., headquarters of the United States Department of Justice. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Cray X-MP/24 (serial no. 115) used by NSA
Cray X-MP/24 (serial no. 115) used by NSA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The seal of the U.S. National Security Agency....
The seal of the U.S. National Security Agency. The first use was in September 1966, replacing an older seal which was used briefly. For more information, see here and here. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Federal prosecutors have filed a criminal complaint against Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who leaked a trove of documents about top-secret surveillance programs, and the United States has asked Hong Kong to detain him on a provisional arrest warrant, according to U.S. officials.

Snowden was charged with theft, “unauthorized communication of national defense information” and “willful communication of classified communications intelligence information to an unauthorized person,” according to the complaint. The last two charges were brought under the 1917 Espionage Act.
The complaint, which initially was sealed, was filed in the Eastern District of Virginia, a jurisdiction where Snowden’s former employer, Booz Allen Hamilton, is headquartered and a district with a long track record of prosecuting cases with national security implications. After The Washington Post reported the charges, senior administration officials said late Friday that the Justice Department was barraged with calls from lawmakers and reporters and decided to unseal the criminal complaint.

A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment.

Snowden flew to Hong Kong last month after leaving his job at an NSA facility in Hawaii with a collection of highly classified documents that he acquired while working at the agency as a systems analyst.

The documents, some of which have been published in The Post and Britain’s Guardian newspaper, detailed some of the most-
secret surveillance operations undertaken by the United States and Britain , as well as classified legal memos and court orders underpinning the programs in the United States.

The 30-year-old intelligence analyst revealed himself June 9 as the leaker in an interview with the Guardian and said he went to Hong Kong because it provided the “cultural and legal framework to allow me to work without being immediately detained.”

Snowden subsequently disappeared from public view; it is thought that he is still in the Chinese territory. Hong Kong has its own legislative and legal systems but ultimately answers to Beijing, under the “one country, two systems” arrangement.

The leaks have sparked national and international debates about the secret powers of the NSA to infringe on the privacy of Americans and foreigners. Officials from President Obama on down have said they welcome the opportunity to explain the importance of the programs and the safeguards they say are built into them. Skeptics, including some in Congress, have said the NSA has assumed the power to soak up data about Americans that was never intended under the law.

There was never any doubt that the Justice Department would seek to prosecute Snowden for one of the most significant national security leaks in the country’s history. The Obama administration has shown a particular propensity to go after leakers and has launched more investigations than any previous administration. This White House is responsible for bringing six of the nine total indictments ever brought under the 1917 Espionage Act. Snowden will be the seventh individual when he is formally indicted.

END OF THE WORLD CLOSE, AGAIN – Seven days left to predicted rapture – News – Jamaica Star – October 14, 2011

rollers tight like a thief in the night
Image by jakedobkin via Flickr

END OF THE WORLD CLOSE, AGAIN – Seven days left to predicted rapture – News – Jamaica Star – October 14, 2011.Here we go again another of them false Prophets, beware of them people as they come like a thief in the night.


The Banker who taunts Nurses and Doctors who were protesting to save our NHS by waving a £10 note, should not be suspended but sack instead for disrespecting the needs of the poor and needy even the sick.
Let’s hope that the Deutsche Bank that he works for would whipe the smirk off his face forever by puting him on the scrap heap.