Friday, July 5, 2013

Kidnapping Presidents

The problem started when Bolivia's President, Evo Morales, made a comment while attending an energy conference in Russia, that he had some sympathy for the National Security Agency leaker/whistle blower, Edward Snowden, and that they would consider offering asylum if it was asked.

Bolivia complains to UN after Evo Morales' plane 'kidnapped'
, , hat tip: Early Warning)
Later that day, soon after Morales was bound for La Paz, Spain, Italy, France and Portugal refused to allow the presidential jet to fly through their airspace over suspicions that Snowden was on board, according to the Bolivian government's account.
Bolivia filed a complaint at the United Nations on Wednesday over what it called the kidnapping of its president, Evo Morales, whose plane was diverted to Vienna amid suspicions that it was carrying the surveillance whistleblower Edward Snowden.
Diverted from their planned route, pilots feared they would not be able to complete their journey. The plane was eventually cleared to land in Vienna, where Morales was forced to spend 13 hours in humiliating limbo while officials worked to resolve the dispute.
It later took off after Austrian officials said Snowden was not on board. But it was unclear whether any officials in Vienna had searched the plane. Austria's deputy chancellor, Michael Spindelegger, said Morales "agreed to a voluntary inspection". But the Bolivian defence minister, Ruben Saavedra, later said Morales had refused entry to the inspectors, and that they had only got as far as the door of the aircraft.
The country's ambassador to the UN, Sacha Llorenti, said the enforced rerouting to Austria was an act of aggression and a violation of international law. The US admitted that it had been in contact with other nations over potential flights by Snowden.
Morales is not a huge friend of the United States, but Bolivia is not generally thought of as some sort of rogue outlaw state.
Having already been caught out for spying not only on our enemies, but just about everyone else, we are doubling down on our aggression.  It is not as if Snowden doesn't have more than a few supporters within the United States.

Update:  This story, while not being ignored in the U.S., appears to be getting  very large play in Europe:  Some additional links:

So who, exactly, re-routed Evo Morales's plane? Corrente ( all links: hat tip: NC)

Snowden case: France apologises in Bolivia plane row BBC

U.S. Postal Service Logging All Mail for Law Enforcement New York Times


JaneofVirginia said...

It's disgusting and I am truly ashamed that the current occupant of our White House thinks that it's acceptable practice to request the holding of the Bolivian equivalent of Air Force One on the "off chance" that Edward Snowden is on the plane. South American leaders have a right to be truly upset about this. How would Mr. Obama feel if Russia decided to ground his plane in Ukraine on the off chance that a member of Pussy Riot or Alexander Litvinenko's wife happened to be hitching a ride ?

Spud said...

Not just the President, most all of Congress is directly going against what a huge portion of the people in this country feel.
How long are we going to let this stand ?

russell1200 said...

Jane: The last two occupants seem to have been pretty much in sync on their behavior. Oddly enough W. seemed to try harder to hide what he was up to.

Spud: To be a bit of a devils-advocate, most of the "people" seem to be delusional as to our actual assets and capabilities, and are asking for more than can possibly be delivered - and I include both side of the fence in this.