By Dave Lindorff
Hong Kong — Here in this ultra-modern city on the coast of southern China, I read in the morning paper that 11 consulates representing most of the nations of Europe, have lodged protests with the city’s chief executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor over a controversial new extradition bill that if passed would allow Hong Kong to extradite suspects to nations with which Hong Kong does not have an extradition deal. That would include China (a country of which Hong Kong is an integral part while still retaining local control over such things as its legal system which remains based upon British Common Law, not Chinese law).
I was not surprised to see that the US Consulate here in Hong Kong did not join in the protest against the new bill.
After all, the US is itself clearly flouting the extradition treaty it signed in 2003 with the UK, which states that neither nation will extradite to the other anyone who faces politically motivated prosecution. Yet just this past week, the US filed 17 charges of violation of the hoary US Espionage Act, a measure enacted by Congress in 1917 during the First World War that has rarely been used since then and that is widely viewed as designed to target political opponents of the government.
How, really, could the US with a straight face object to Hong Kong passing an act that endorses extradition for political “crimes” while Washington is aggressively pursuing Wikileaks founder Julian Assange for political “crimes” based upon a law that could end up, if he were extradited and then tried and convicted in the US, with his being sentenced to life for simply publishing truths about US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan?
There is some connection between Hong Kong’s new extradition law and the Assange prosecution. It was to Hong Kong, recall, that Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency whistleblower, first fled to avoid prosecution for releasing tens of thousands of documents exposing the monstrous spying program being conducted against all Americans and most foreign countries by the NSA. Because of Hong Kong’s model law and practice on extradition, Snowden, with the assistance of local activists and attorneys and lawyers for Wikileaks, was able to board a plane to Russia, which eventually granted him asylum, thus keeping him safely out of the clutches of the insidious US prosecutorial machine.
There were howls of outrage from thuggish members of the US Congress for Assange’s and for Snowden’s heads, and even suggestions from the likes of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the use or a Helfire-missile-firing drone to terminate both men — a suggestion passed off as a joke when it was leaked to the public, but that has to be taken seriously since a policy of extrajudicial targeted killing was adopted in 2001 by President George Bush, later expanded by President Barack Obama, and continued under President Donald Trump (that’s one Obama executive order he hasn’t undone!)…
For the rest of this article by DAVE LINDORFF in ThisCantBeHappening!, the uncompromised, collectively run, seven-Project Censored Award-winning online alternative journalism news site, please go to: https://thiscantbehappening.net/press-freedom-is-under-threat-in-the-land-of-its-birth/