I was born in Columbus, Ohio. I still retain US citizenship, although I have been a dual national with Australian citizenship for more than twenty years now, and I have for some time identified as 'Australian'.
When I was younger, at school, growing up, I learned a good deal of history. Not just American, but history of the world. And I admit that I saw reason to hold the founders of the American nation in high regard. Knowing the times in which they lived, and the difficulties they faced, I felt then -- and now -- that the work and principles of the men and women of the early days of the US were among the most momentous and laudable efforts towards bettering the human condition that history has seen.
For the better part of two hundred years, the US identified itself with ideals such as freedom, equality, opportunity, tolerance and egalitarianism. In the 20th century the US became something special -- not just a country, but a symbol, a promise: a vision that offered hope to a world full of dark, grim, hopeless places.
Today, I read online a note from the government of Hong Kong regarding the movements of Mr Edward Snowden, a US citizen now charged with treason by the US government. I'll copy the note in full:
Mr Edward Snowden left Hong Kong today (June 23) on his own accord for a third country through a lawful and normal channel.
The US Government earlier on made a request to the HKSAR 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.
Issued at HKT 16:05
Firstly, there was a time in the USA when what Edward Snowden did would have been seen as an act of true heroism: reporting on the widespread abuse of the US constitution by the government which has invaded the privacy of (seemingly!) every US citizen and much of the world through its NSA spying programme. There was a time when people in the USA who spoke up, who exposed corruption and institutionalised wrongdoing were seen as true Americans, not traitors. I am bitterly disappointed to see how deeply times have changed.