National Post Exclusive: How Snowden Escaped

National Post is publishing an exclusive: How Snowden Escaped in anticipation of the Oliver Stone’s biographical political thriller Snowden world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on Sept. 9, live Cineplex preview on Sept 14, and wide release on Sept 16.

(part 1 of n) (with video) Worth a read. National Post, 2016 Sept 7, “Exclusive: How Snowden Escaped” #EdwardSnowden #CanadianLawyer #RobertTibbo #HongKong #NorthPoint #LaiChiKok #ShamShuiPo //To escape the long arm of American justice, the man responsible for the largest national security breach in U.S. history retained a Canadian lawyer in Hong Kong who hatched a plan that included a visit to the UN sub-office where the North Carolina native applied for refugee status to avoid extradition to the U.S.

Fearing the media would surround and follow Snowden — making it easier for the Hong Kong authorities to arrest the one-time Central Intelligence Agency analyst on behalf of the U.S. — his lawyers made him virtually disappear for two weeks from June 10 to June 23, 2013, before he emerged on an Aeroflot airplane bound for Moscow, where he remains stranded today in self-imposed exile.

“That morning, I had minutes to figure out how to get him to the UN, away from the media, and out of harm’s way with the weight of the U.S. government bearing down on him. I did what I had to do, and could do, to help him,” Robert Tibbo, the whistleblower’s lead lawyer in Hong Kong told the Post in a wide-ranging interview, the first detailing the chaotic days of Snowden’s escape three years ago. “They wanted the data and they wanted to shut him down. Our greatest fear was that Ed would be found.” […]

For the vulnerable people back in Hong Kong who helped him escape to safety, the danger is potentially more palpable. According to Tibbo, Snowden sent them each US$1,000 when he realized he may have unwittingly put them at risk by revealing their role for the Hollywood movie.

“They had a hundred chances to betray me while I was amongst them, and no one could have blamed them, given their precarious situations. But they never did,” Snowden said. “If not for their compassion, my story could have ended differently. They taught me no matter who you are, no matter what you have, sometimes a little courage can change the course of history.”//

(part 2 of n) (with video) “Edward Snowden lauds ‘courageous’ asylum seekers who sheltered him: ‘They had a hundred chances to betray me’” //Q: How were you able to trust total strangers in that situation? Were you in shock?
A: No matter how much you prepared yourself, taking a decision like that is frightening for sure. But it’s also liberating. Think about it: when you walk into a fight you’re almost certain you’re going to lose, you realize incredible risks work in your favour, not to the adversary’s. Suddenly, instead of fixating on your overwhelming odds of failure, you start evaluating tiny chances for success. For me, it was trusting strangers who knew what it meant to be hunted.
Q: What was it like?
A: They had a hundred chances to betray me while I was amongst them, and no one could have blamed them, given their precarious situations. But they never did. Despite not even having enough space for themselves, they never complained. Instead they smiled. The children would watch me crack neighbourhood wireless access points with a special antenna so I could communicate with journalists without drawing the police to where I was. I still remember the feeling in my stomach as I’d hear sirens screaming toward the building. I’d pray like hell that they were for something else as I raced to disable any equipment that might be transmitting, getting ready to move. Fortunately, it was always something else.
Q: How did you react when Robert Tibbo suggested the plan?
A: I was in a mission-focused state of mind by that point, so there wasn’t a lot of agonizing. I wasn’t bothered by the idea of rough living, but I was worried about accidentally dragging people down with me. Robert promised me they’d have my back despite the risks, and he was right. Supun, Nadeeka, Vanessa and Ajith are among the most courageous people I’ve ever had the privilege to know. Imagine the world’s most wanted dissident is brought to your door. Would you open it? They didn’t even hesitate, and I’ll always be grateful for that. If not for their compassion, my story could have ended differently. They taught me no matter who you are, no matter what you have, sometimes a little courage can change the course of history.//

(part 3 of n) 2013 CBA (Canadian Bar Association) interview with Snowden’s Canadian lawyer. Worth a read.

(part 4 of n) “Meet The Canadian Who Hid Edward Snowden” //“He is somebody who has devoted his life to protecting refugees and people seeking asylum and he takes that very seriously,” added Laura Poitras, a U.S. journalist and Oscar-winning documentary director who has worked with Tibbo.
Despite the accolades, the 52-year-old Montreal native is actually a relative newcomer to the high-minded world of human rights law. Tibbo’s bread and butter after he obtained his law licence in Hong Kong in 2005 was corporate and constitutional law.
That changed in 2012 amid mass arrests in the local asylum community. Tibbo established a legal clinic to help hundreds of destitute refugee claimants who had mostly been tortured or sexually abused in their home countries, notably Sri Lanka, Indonesia, the Philippines and West Africa. “My phone never stopped ringing as people who were incarcerated started seeking me out rather than seeking out legal aid,” he said.//

====

Here are some clips from and related to Snowden.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: