I came across this little gem in a news report on the NSA whistleblowing story about how the Obama administration has issued charges of espionage against Edward Snowden.
As Snowden made his latest disclosures, the US issued an extradition request to Hong Kong and piled pressure on the territory to respond swiftly. “If Hong Kong doesn’t act soon, it will complicate our bilateral relations and raise questions about Hong Kong’s commitment to the rule of law,” a senior Obama administration official said. [My italics-MS]
I honestly don’t know how these people can say these things with a straight face. Here we have an administration with a long history of torture, murders, indefinite detentions, renditions, kangaroo courts, and massive secretive surveillance of practically everybody, solemnly lecturing other countries about needing to comply with the rule of law. What is worse, what the Obama administration means by this is for other countries to ignore their own laws and snap to it and immediately comply with US demands. Can there be any clearer example of an imperialistic mindset?
It seems like the US is ticked off with Hong Kong for allowing Snowden to leave and not arresting him and handing him over to the US. In its response, the Hong Kong authorities rebuffed US charges and said that it was the US that was not fully complying with the law.
The Hong Kong government said on Sunday he had left of his own accord “through a lawful and normal channel” and said the request filed by the US did not fully comply with legal requirements. Pointedly, it also said it wanted Washington to clarify Snowden’s claims that the US had hacked targets in the territory.
The move came two days after the US announced it had charged him with espionage and hours after the US stepped up pressure on Hong Kong to issue a provisional warrant for Snowden’s arrest with a view to his surrender.
It looks like we are in for a cat-and-mouse game with many countries involved and we are going to learn a lot about how international law works, though in this case international politics may play a bigger role than international law.