June 30, 2013


It's nice that every now and then there is some justice.

23 Jun - Edward Snowden leaves Hong Kong for Moscow - Hong Kong's response when the US requested they turn over Snowden (last paragraph with the sweet, sweet smack-down, emphasis mine):

Mr Edward Snowden left Hong Kong today [June 23] of his own accord for a third country through a lawful and normal channel.

The US government earlier on made a request to the HKSAR [Hong Kong special administrative region] government for the issue of a provisional warrant of arrest against Mr Snowden. Since the documents provided by the US government did not fully comply with the legal requirements under Hong Kong law, the HKSAR government has requested the US government to provide additional information so that the Department of Justice could consider whether the US government's request can meet the relevant legal conditions.

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 HKSAR government has already informed the US government of Mr Snowden's departure.

Meanwhile, the HKSAR government has formally written to the US government requesting clarification on earlier reports about the hacking of computer systems in Hong Kong by US government agencies. The HKSAR government will continue to follow up on the matter so as to protect the legal rights of the people of Hong Kong.

25 Jun - White House to Vladimir Putin: Extradite Snowden "without delay". Vladimir Putin, after being requested to extradite Snowden and refusing:

Snowden is a free person. The sooner he chooses his final destination, the better it is for him and Russia ... In any case, I would like not to deal with such issues because it is like shearing a pig: there's lots of squealing and little fleece.

26 Jun - Ecuador offers U.S. rights aid, waives trade benefits and Ecuador thumbs nose at US trade 'blackmail' over Snowden

NJ Senator Robert Menendez, head of the Foreign Relations Committee, threatens to revoke Ecuador's beneficial trade tariffs if they accept Snowden. Ecuadoran spokesman Fernando Alvarado responds: Ecuador will not accept pressures or threats from anyone, and it does not traffic in its values or allow them to be subjugated to mercantile interests. They then offered the US $23 million per year to finance human rights training--the same amount they currently get from the US in trade benefits.

Ecuadoran president Rafael Correa responding to a Washington Post editorial:

All of a sudden, trade tariffs became an instrument of blackmail: behave or leave the free trade movement. In the face of threats, insolence and arrogance of certain U.S. sectors, which have pressured to remove the preferential tariffs because of the Snowden case, Ecuador tells the world: We unilaterally and irrevocably denounce the preferential tariffs. Our dignity has no price.

It is outrageous to try to delegitimize a state for receiving a petition of asylum.

And he continued on Twitter:

What a joke! Do they realize the power of the international press? They have centered the attention on Snowden and the 'evil' countries that 'support' him, making everyone forget the terrible things that he denounced in front of the American people and the entire world.

posted by sstrader at 8:10 AM in Politics | permalink

June 29, 2013

Article on Albert O. Hirschman in The New Yorker

[Eugenio] Colorni believed that doubt was creative because it allowed for alternative ways to see the world, and seeing alternatives could steer people out of intractable circles and self-feeding despondency. Doubt, in fact, could motivate: freedom from ideological constraints opened up political strategies, and accepting the limits of what one could know liberated agants from their dependence on the belief that one had to know everything before acting, that conviction was a precondition for action.

--Jeremy Adelman, from "Worldly Philosopher: The Odyssey of Albert O. Hirschman"

The phrase that Hirshman and Colorni would repeat to each other was that they hoped to "prove Hamlet wrong." Hamlet shouldn't have been frozen by his doubts; he should have been freed by them. Hamlet took himself too seriously. He thought he needed to be perfect. Colorni and Hirshman didn't. Courage, Colorni wrote, required the willingness "to always be on guard against oneself."

--Malcolm Gladwell, from "The Gift of Doubt"

This reminds me of Frank Herbert's comments on his character Paul Atreides from Dune. Herbert said that Paul's success came from riding the chaos and not trying to control all events. (I can't find the interview where he says this.)

posted by sstrader at 12:55 PM in Culture & Society | permalink

Technology and society

Technology triggers our desire both to connect with others and to fix the mistakes of our past. The first impulse is often an effect of the second--anguished memories make us seek external absolution--and so fixing the mistakes would eliminate the desire.

posted by sstrader at 12:44 PM in Internet | permalink