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Edward Snowden’s Escape from Hong Kong [audio] (ccc.de)
153 points by doener on Dec 29, 2016 | hide | past | favorite | 76 comments

Hey thanks for these donated my share, is there a phone number I could reach to conduct an interview?

Article in the Handelsblatt about the same time frame of Snowdens hiding in Hong-Kong: https://global.handelsblatt.com/politics/edward-snowdens-gua...

The story begins around 18:30.

After listening to these folks explain the situation of refugees and their legal status in HK, one wonders a bit why EJS decided to go there as his first stop.

He answered this in an interview.

"Sure. So there's a couple assertions in those arguments that are sort of embedded in the questioning of the choice of Hong Kong. The first is that China is an enemy of the United States. It's not. I mean there are conflicts between the United States government and the Chinese PRC government but the peoples inherently we don't care. We trade with each other freely, we're not at war, we're not in armed conflict, and we're not trying to be. We're the largest trading partners out there for each other."

"Additionally, Hong Kong has a strong tradition of free speech. People think 'Oh China, Great Firewall.' Mainland China does have significant restrictions on free speech but the people of Hong Kong have a long tradition of protesting in the streets, of making there views known. The internet is not filtered here more so then any other western government and I believe that the Hong Kong government is actually independent in relation to a lot of other leading western governments."

transcript: https://mic.com/articles/47355/edward-snowden-interview-tran...

video: https://www.theguardian.com/world/video/2013/jun/09/nsa-whis...

As for why he'd go to a place with disappointing refugee policies, I don't think he was planning to settle there.

I work with some wealthy people. This is a fun topic and favourite topic--if the U.S. fell to fascism, where would you go.

The most popular answe is Argentina. The most interesting is Kerala.

I live in the UK. I always used to think that if freedom fell here it would fall everywhere.

Now my government is recording internet history, and censoring depictions of my (harmless but unusual) sexual practices. I'm not yet a criminal in my homeland, but I fear it's only a matter of time.

Where do I go?

Eastern Europe. Our people are one of the most chill folk in the world (together with parts of Turkey and the Nordic countries, IMO) and as long you're not living off of welfare people will judge you by how you act towards them. Not to mention most of us are very hospitable and open.

Disclaimer: I am from Bulgaria. I've met countless Americans, a lot of British, loads of Eastern Europeans, some Nordics, some Turks and Arabs, very few Southern Americans, and some Asians. I still stand by my claim. We're pretty chill and the rotten tomatoes amongst us aren't more than anywhere else.

The fact that our governments don't take action on a load of issues unless it affects their pockets -- or the entire rest of the world already addressed them and they feel very behind (pick one) -- is in the strict meaning of the word bad... but it does have benefits. For example we couldn't care less about the overly sensitive political correctness movement. Almost nobody around here hates LGBT people unless they become very vocal and attention-seeking. Or any other kind of people. Nobody screams "sexism!" when a woman isn't qualified for a job. Nobody has the resources to censor or monitor the internet around here as well. (For now.)

Additionally, Bulgaria and Romania offer one of the best internet connections in the world. (Estonia too, but that's in the Baltic area.)

If you can work remotely, you'll reap the benefits of living in a relatively cheap country with a foreign paycheck. Trust me, it feels pretty good and is very sustainable. (But hell, don't ever get stuck with a local regular job.)

I don't seriously think you'd use such a feedback in your decision making -- but consider it a biased anecdotal semi-informative piece.

I spent about 24 hours in Bulgaria. I arrived by train in a sleeper carriage, where we (my GF and I) were pick-pocketed while sleeping. As we wandered around Sofia, I caught another pickpocket, a woman, trying to undo the zip on my shoulder bag.

I couldn't wait to get out of Bulgaria. It will be a long time before I voluntarily revisit.

Pickpockets are everywhere. Don't generalize.

I'll agree however that unless you live in several parts of Sofia (the capital) the rest of the city -- and the country -- can be easily defined as a poverty-stricken sh*thole. =)

Let's just say I live in the bubble of the middle class and for that Bulgaria is pretty much perfect.

EDIT: You should absolutely avoid the trains in Bulgaria. Buses, planes, or walking. Not joking.

But don't you always have to suck up to the US so your country doesn't end up getting Crimea'ed?

Maybe. 99% of us don't know and don't care.

Interesting anecdote, never thought I'd hear a sales pitch for moving to Eastern Europe. But I must admit I've grown to appreciate the zero fucks given that is Eastern Europe. I miss when the Internet was the wild west, and used for circumventing bullshit. Now it's become where bullshit is born. I want to run naked in the streets covered in green jello (a la Denis Leary) every time I'm forced to look at social media. It would be nice to live in a place where no one suffers fools.

I can't generalize a country where I dislike a good chunk of the people -- but for what it's worth, people are busy, they go on about their lives and they rarely judge you out of nowhere. Posers and idiots do exist on the media, just like everywhere else -- that's a way to make money you know (no such thing as negative advertisement).

But the common folk is incredibly bullshit-resistant and that makes living in this country a bless for people who need the peace of mind.

I am from Kerala and genuinely curious - why Kerala? And why Argentina for that matter?

I have never heard the name before, but:

Kerala has the lowest positive population growth rate in India, 3.44%; highest Human Development Index (HDI), 0.790 in 2011; the highest literacy rate, 93.91% in the 2011 census; the highest life expectancy, 77 years; and the highest sex ratio, 1,084 women per 1000 men.



Yup, we managed to get some things right. Interesting read: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kerala_model

Far away from where American agents could find, or effect force, on you. Militantly independent local governments and financial systems, et cetera.

Fascinating! I wouldn't have called either of those.

Why Argentina?

> Why Argentina?

Same core reasons as Kerala [1]. You're looking for places which would remain stable if America collapsed and where America would have a hard time projecting influence if it didn't.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13276490

Argentine seems an odd choice if you are looking for a place to remain stable in the event of (or, for that matter, in the absence of) a US collapse.

I mean, it's not even a particularly great choice in South America by that standard.

If you have hard currency it's one of the more beautiful countries in the world.

I'd do Ireland or New Zealand.

There is a short list of countries that won't actively help the US, be bullied into helping the US, and be able to protect defectors from the CIA. China is vulnerable to economic pressure from the US, Russia is to a lesser extent.

Well apart from China (which rules Hong Kong) or Russia, where else would he go? Maybe India as a last resort (India's protected the Dalai Lama for many decades).

> Maybe India as a last resort (India's protected the Dalai Lama for many decades).

India didn't exactly have to put anything on the line for this considering the Dalai Lama was sponsored by the CIA when he first went into exile...

Edit - downvotes but no response? It's well known that the CIA was involved in the Tibetan uprising that forced the Dalai Lama into exile, and that he was on their payroll at the time. Not even conspiracy theory stuff, just documented history.

>just documented history

People from HN expect links when you use such words. Could be the reason for downvotes I guess.

There is a point where that stops, no? I mean we don't provide links to the wikipedia page for the Holocaust...


The holocaust is also a widely know historical incident where as Tibet's struggles, while known by a few, aren't as wide nor as strong a historical impact to the globe.

This is common knowledge if you're even remotely aware of Tibet issues. It's an easy thing to forget that not everyone knows about this stuff. At my university in the 90s, Free Tibet was a thing and it was impossible to not learn about!

China doesn't rule HK, at least until 2047.

I feel for Lena Rohrbach. That was a nightmare presentation, gets 5 minutes into her part of the talk and the power dies on her laptop.

Lena handled it very gracefully. She gives a very quick synopsis of what her part of the talk would have been around the 41 minute mark.

The whole presentation was plagued by gremlins; the substance begins with Sönke Iversen's part of the talk around 13:45.

Short summary: There's a two week period in Hong Kong missing from the film CitizenFour and this talk is about the three refugee families and their lawyer who sheltered and protected Snowden in that time in Hong Kong. Also how asylum seekers in Hong Kong have a 0.3% chance of being accepted and how any assistance (if any) these people have gotten before have been cut by the government after their involvement with Snowden. The talks seeks raising awareness for them and shows a few ways of how donations for them are being collected. Also, one of the refugees, Vanessa from the Philippines, was skyped in live, which was quite touching.

There's not a lot of revealing new info here, but wonderful people in dire need of support.

What is amazing that these people helped Snowden knowing they were risking their life and not expecting anything in return. That is selfless service.

Part of what you're describing is displayed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nd6qN167wKo

The U.S. has fallen to fascism, where will you go?

Please stop posting unsubstantive comments to HN. The ideological and partisan tangent you bestowed upon us with this one is what we're trying to avoid here.

We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13276396 and marked it off-topic.

The Austrian side of my family fled Anschluss [1]. Within this context, the hyperbolic ("I am upset about our political system") and literal ("I will likely be killed soon") uses of the term "fascist" are meaningful.

[1] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anschluss

One of the most disappointing things about the last election cycle in the U.S. and Brexit here in the U.K. has been people happily accepting euphemism and hyperbole as part of political/social rhetoric. Maybe it's been happening for a while, but to me it felt like a sudden shift.

Bannon is a "white supremacist" because he was accused of making a single antisemitic remark by his ex-wife, during divorce proceedings, which he denies.

Trump is a "fascist" and a "white nationalist" because he wants to bring down legal and illegal migration, and is skeptical of Islam's role in modern day terrorism.

People who voted for the U.K. to remain in the EU are being branded "enemies of democracy" because they're pleased that the representatives elected to parliament will get final say on what was a non-binding referendum, in a country which is not a plebiscite.

"Genocide" is being used on Twitter to describe the decline of the white race as a % of the population as a whole in North America, despite the fact that genocide is a legal term which the UN's OSAPG defines as requiring dolus specialis. I.e. to believe it's actually genocide you have to believe that not only are actions being undertaken which singularly target and try to kill white folks, but also that there is a specific intent from those in power to do so: that the tens and thousands of white people in government, the CIA, the NSA, etc. are trying to kill themselves off.

Maybe it's just that compared to the atrocities of the early twentieth century the bar is now comparatively low, and what constituted "disaster" in 1935 is incomparable to what constitutes a disaster in 2016. But it feels like we're not using the precision and care we should with words.

Trump was called a fascist because he wanted to create a registry of muslims and spent a good while castigating Mexicans before somehow attempting to walk it back. He was called a white nationalist because he courted extremely controversial figures like David Duke.

I do think people are often too quick to go to extremes when using terms like "fascist" and "socialist" (abused by both sides), but I don't think it's a stretch to start applying those to Trump.

>He was called a white nationalist because he courted extremely controversial figures like David Duke.

Can explain what you mean by the use of the word "courted"?

I'm not overly familiar with the ordeal, but according to this from the Washington Post:


It doesn't sound like he is attaching himself to David Duke in any way. Politicians (everyone, really) have to communicate with people whose politics they may or may not agree with.

Bingo. There's a huge leap from "someone endorsed or voted for Trump" to "Trump is a white nationalist". Look at Bannon as an example. If he's an antisemite -- truly -- he's going to have real problems working in an administration with Trump's observant Jewish son-in-law.

>because he courted extremely controversial figures like David Duke.

Did he? I haven't really followed this, but I can't remember seeing anything even remotely suggesting this.

He regularly retweeted white nationalist posts.

David Duke was specified, even though all evidence points toward that accusation being entirely fabricated.

It seems like he used to retweet lots of random people, was he regularly retweeting any specific white nationalists or specifically white nationalist content?

The solution is not to overcorrect and massively downplay.

The reaction to Bannon is not because of a single incident. Go peruse breitbart.com to take in some of his editorial direction - be sure to check the 'black crime' tag.

The reaction to Trump is not about a bland policy disagreement; the reaction is to claims of "Mexican rapists" and promises (revokable depending on moon-phase, apparently) to target Muslim immigrants specifically.

You are correct that nobody is firing up the Zyclon-B factories right now, and nobody knows what will actually happen. But concerns about the use of hyperbole cannot be an excuse to downplay people's clear words and actions. Doing so falls for a rhetorical strategy called the Overton Window that's been used successfully for quite some time. Look it up if you're not familiar with it, and view the history of a hot-button issue of your choosing through that lens. It works, and it leads to extremism.

> The reaction to Bannon is not because of a single incident. Go peruse breitbart.com to take in some of his editorial direction - be sure to check the 'black crime' tag.

That doesn't make him a white supremacist I'm afraid. There is a level of precision one would commonly associate with that term which is not simply the result of him allowing neoconservative interpretations of crime statistics.

Calling everyone and everything "Hitler" is hyperbole. Calling out behaviors, statements, and actions that align with fascism or historical precedents of fascism as such, would seem perfectly reasonable.

Within the context of fleeing a country, I think the analogy is inappropriate. Worse, it's numbing. If you're at the fleeing stage, it's too late to do anything from inside.

US falls to fascism...where to go?

I think its a science-fiction scenario at this point. Trump is a petty authoritarian with a history of scamming and self-promotion. He will do some amount of damage but nothing irreversible state-side.

The best thing to do is to stay where you are.

There are enough sane rational people to turn things around if everything really goes to hell. Mainstream republicans won't go "all the way", there aren't enough alt-right maniacs to sustain a fascist revolution, and the honey-boo-boo crowd who actually got The Donald elected will soon enough realize/remember what it means to trust a scammer.

This has been said the whole time, "Ah it's not a big deal", "ah he can't do much" but we keep underestimating him and now here he is, president elect.

Fascism: everything within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.

If you can freely choose to leave then that's a strong indicator that your nation is not fascist.

> If you can freely choose to leave then that's a strong indicator that your nation is not fascist.

So the people who decided to flee from Nazi-Germany, the Soviet Union or North Korea were not fleeing from a fascist country?

Two points on this:

1. OP said strong indicator. It's by no means the only indicator and a state can be fascist whilst still allowing people to leave.

2. Many people who were not targets of the regime were unable to flee Nazi-Germany, the Soviet Union, and North Korea.

> 1. OP said strong indicator. It's by no means the only indicator and a state can be fascist whilst still allowing people to leave.

OP said that:

> If you can freely choose to leave then that's a strong indicator that your nation is not fascist.

I'm saying that it isn't an indicator for fascism: there is no country where every person who wants to leave, is unable to (whether it's illegal to leave is another question). Therefore, in all countries, fascist or not, there will be people who can freely choose to leave.

I think that a better indicator would be:

> If no ethnic/religious/politic/whatever group of people are prevented in a legal or physical way to leave the country, then that's a strong indicator that your nation is not fascist.

... yet.


Except Bhutan doesn't want you.

I don't think you can describe the democratic election of a president who wants smaller, not bigger government as "fascism". It suggests a pretty poor understanding of the fact that fascism is pretty narrowly defined, and not another word for "thing I don't like"

No but Trump was/is promising to jail the opposition, promising to curb freedom of press, and generally using the language of fascism. I recently read for the first time Burkes rhetorical analysis of Hitlers Mein Kampf:


These tropes show up all over political speech of course, but I think it is undeniable that Trump has pulled together an unusually large concentration of them.

Make no mistake, Trump is no Hitler and he might have autocratic tendencies but the US is not a fascist state. I agree with you there. But criticism of Trump is more than the usual "someone I disagree with got elected". Trumps election heralds a crisis of liberal democracy of a magnitude I have not seen in my lifetime.

Principiis obsta.

> Trump is no Hitler

Well, Hitler was no Hitler either. Until he suddenly was.

The thing is, power is continually being increased and concentrated in the hands of fewer people, thanks to technology (which by definition has an exponential rate of growth of efficiency). Technology can make the transition from "weak democracy" to "fascism" potentially instant. And that is the danger.

Great point. "Efficiency" in government has negative implications.

Well you know, that opposition did commit actual crimes on multiple occasions, and that free press did conspire against him...

Being the opposition doesn't make you exempt from justice, and being the press doesn't mean you can lie (more like the opposite)

There's many things wrong with Trump, but these things aren't among them. (the things that are are "the wall", his conflict of interest, his stance on climate change)

I consider myself a proud Trump supporter, but I also think there's things about him we need to question and watch out for - and comparing him to fascists or casting undue doubt on the legitimacy of the election is just distracting from the real important things. For the sake of both "camps" (though I hate to see the world divided up like that - we're all on the same side, really) I wish we could stop this nonsense and focus on the future.

But I'm going off topic, so I'll leave it at that.

Fascism doesn't mean "Nazis". Fascism is a form of government that pursues nationalist polices and advocates for self-sufficiency, including public-private industrial partnerships with chosen winners.

Many of the more wacky people surrounding Trump are almost certainly a modern American spin on fascists. The major test of Trump as President will be whether he will let those folks define his presidency (the way Cheney usurped Bush 2) or whether he will kick them to the curb. He lacks political allies, so watching the trusted family members he surrounds himself with is crucial to understanding what is happening.

Politically, a major part of the conservative movement originated from the "western convservatives", whose funders are people who run extraction industries (oil, mining) who joined "conservative democrats" (ie. southern racists) after civil rights. Western conservatives hate government because any government intervention (except for giving them leases on Federal land) increases costs. A great resource to learn about the early days of this phenomenon is Robert Caro's series of biographies of Lyndon Johnson -- particularly "Master of the Senate".

> The U.S. has fallen to fascism

Not really, yet. But, trust me, America will have the best fascism you can get. I'm highly educated. And I have the best words. And let me tell you, it's gonna be tremendous. It's gonna be yuuuuuge.


NP dude I got you.

Edward Snowden escaped from Hong Kong.

Does it count as escaping now he stuck in Russia?

Which I suppose you expect to be written by someone who doesn't value their time. And, I'm guessing, without any offer of compensation from you.

If you're going to ask someone to do you a favor it's more effective if you dispense with the snark.

That "request" ought to have been worded a little better, but one would think that a person who went to the trouble to link the presentation would have considered some value in providing at least a short summary or excerpt. Clearly they don't value time THAT much. And the linked video is 65 minutes long, and given a clickbaity title. A paragraph or two isn't a lot to ask for, it would at least have given OP an opportunity to open and focus discussion on whatever he found interesting about the video.

It would be nice that when submitting something, Title, URL AND summary would be mandatory... At least couple of sentances.

Not necessarily for text but definitely for videos.

Or are hard of hearing?


Pretty please a summary? I am on mobile.

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